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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman-Wilson House: Site Preparation

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On the morning of Friday, June 20, parties involved in the relocation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman-Wilson House gathered to kick off the reconstruction and celebrate the efforts of the dedicated team that has committed its time and energy to this momentous project.

Great progress has been made thus far. The house was carefully disassembled and labeled before being transported safely to Northwest Arkansas from its original location in Somerset Count, New Jersey. Upon arrival, the many pieces were inventoried and inspected for imperfections. They are currently laid out in a series of grids, awaiting the completion of site preparation work.

The red dotted line illustrates the placement of the fence, and the blue arrows represent the trail detour that will exist for the duration of the reconstruction process.

The red dotted line illustrates the placement of the fence, and the blue arrows represent the trail detour that will exist for the duration of the reconstruction process.

Meanwhile, on the Museum grounds, site preparation is underway! In May, a fence was installed around the perimeter of the site—a beautiful location tucked away just between the Crystal Spring Trail and the Tulip Tree Trail.

The Bachman-Wilson House reconstruction area was carefully selected with a number of vital factors in mind: the original design, the terrain, the angle of the sun, physical accessibility, the view, and the impact on the natural surroundings. Based on these considerations, the location overlooking Crystal Spring was determined to be ideal.

Artist's rendering of the placement of the Bachman-Wilson House on the site.

Artist’s rendering of the placement of the Bachman-Wilson House on the site.

This thoughtful site selection has benefitted the crew from Bill Faber Construction, the team responsible for the structure’s reconstruction. Most of the Museum’s 120 acres of grounds are densely packed with trees, hills, and ravines, but a large section of the reconstruction site was relatively level as a result of an unfinished nineteenth century railroad construction project. This has resulted in relatively limited impact to the existing landscape.

That said, clearing the site has still been a very labor-intensive task. To date, over 120 loads of dirt have been removed from the construction area, and there is still leveling work to be done.

IMG_9602“So far, we’ve had good soil,” commented Bill Faber. “Good soil” is a wonderful thing to encounter when doing excavation work in the Ozarks, a region where bedrock is often located mere inches beneath the surface!

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Down by the tree line, at the end of the dusty clearing stand a series of wooden stakes with bright pink flags. These markers frame the area where the house will soon be located.

The construction zone is a flurry of activity—full of vehicles, noises, and dust—and it will be for some time. It’s hard to envision what the site will look like when construction and landscaping conclude in 2015, but standing on the bare soil surrounded by stakes and looking down toward Crystal Spring, it’s already clear that we’ve picked the right spot.

Hilary Hutter is Administrative Assistant for the Museum's Communications Department.

Hilary Hutter is Administrative Assistant for the Museum’s Communications Department.

We are very sorry to announce that this is Hilary Hutter’s final blog post for Crystal Bridges.  Hilary is getting married soon and relocating with her husband to Ohio.  We will greatly miss her sense of humor, more-than-capable management of multiple projects, on-the-fly photography, insightful and often very entertaining contributions to the blog (see this year’s April Fools posts!), and her wonderful illustrations (of which this one will always be my personal favorite).  We wish you the best of luck, Hilary!  –LD

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