F.L.Wright (De)Tours

It never ceases to amaze me how clicking on an innocent little link to a news story can turn into an unexpected, intriguing adventure.

For example, this week I clicked on a link to this story about a Frank Lloyd Wright house that will be going on the market in October.
A Frank Lloyd Wright home in N.H. will hit the market for $850,000 (Brittany Bowker, Boston.com)

The story says that the house is known as the Kalil House, and as is generally the case with Wright houses, there’s an interesting aspect to the architecture. In this case the house is one of seven “Usonian Automatic Houses” that Wright designed. They were intended to be moderately priced and used inexpensive concrete blocks that could be assembled in a variety of ways.

That sounded like a sort of “LEGO” house, so I wanted to know more!

Here’s a YouTube video that shows the house.

Interesting concept, but not my personal favorite example of Wright architecture.

However, while I was trying to find out more about how the house looked, something else caught my attention. The website for the sale of the house has a 3D Tour.

Neat! Of course, I had to check it out!

That 3D Tour was created using a platform called Matterport. The core of their business is that they do a 3D scan of a space and host the 3D model on their platform so users can navigate by simply matching a blue circle attached to their cursor to white circles on the 360° image and clicking.

Here’s a short video about what Matterport does and how they do it.

Matterport is clearly used for selling high-end real estate, but it’s also been used for other types of spaces, and their website has a gallery of interesting tours. The Arts & Culture and Historic sections feature hundreds of famous places. No surprise, I took some (de)tours.

I also accidentally tripped over something else.

There’s another Wright house up for sale, or in this case auction, in October. It’s in Phoenix, and it’s known as the Circular Sun House or the Norman Lykes House.

Better yet, there’s also another 3D tour of it that uses Matterport!

Once I found that, I decided a try a simple Google Search to find out if there were any other Matterport tours of Wright houses.

Sure enough, there were more tours, which also meant more detours for me!

There’s even a Matterport tour of Taliesin West, which was Wright’s desert laboratory that was mentioned in the above video about the Norman Lykes House.

Here’s a video about the technologies that were used to make the 3D Tour.

Then my journey took yet another unexpected turn due to this article.
Take A 3D Virtual Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West (Katharine Keane, Architectural Digest)

That article was innocent enough, but it had a link to this article from a few years ago.
10 Facts About Frank Lloyd Wright You Didn’t Know (Carrie Hojnicki, Architectural Digest)

Here’s a sample of what’s in the article.

For all the praise Frank Lloyd Wright garnered in his 70-year career, the architect was equally a magnet for controversy in all its forms. With three wives and eight children (seven biological, one adopted), the architect spent much of his adult life racking up sensational, though not untrue, headlines like “SUIT ENDS WRIGHT ROMANCE; Sculptress Who Fled With Architect to Japan Obtains Alimony” (New York Times) or “ISSUE WARRANT FOR WRIGHT; Architect’s Wife Seeks to Re-enter Their Wisconsin Home” (also New York Times), each referring the personal tumult that seemed to follow the architect through much of his adult life.

Wow, so Mr. Wright wasn’t boring!

I did a tad more research about Wright’s life and found a trailer for a documentary about him entitled Frank Lloyd Wright: Murder, Myth & Modernism. It starts out covering his architecture, but it doesn’t end there!

I found out more about the “Murder” in the title of the movie in a YouTube video from the Smithsonian Channel entitled A Horrific Tragedy at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home, but it was so gruesome that I could not bring myself to include anything but a link to it here. I will caution you that you should take the word “horrific” seriously as you decide whether or not to click the link and watch the video!

I’ll stop sharing my own (de)tours here, but if you want to take some further ones on your own, then there are plenty of places to find out more about Wright’s work and his extraordinary life. You can check out the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust (YouTube Channel). The Architectural Digest has a very nice section. Then, of course, there’s good old Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia.

Finally, on a brighter note, according to an article on Atlas Obscura, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy says that there tend to be between 15 to 20 properties for sale at any one time. These days, a fairly high percentage of those are bound to have Matterport tours or 360° YouTube videos available to explore, so that means that Wright fans can enjoy some new Wright architecture (de)tours with just a bit of clicking.

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