In 2014, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced the acquisition of a rare Frank Lloyd Wright house originally built in 1954 along the Millstone River in New Jersey. Since then, the house has been disassembled, [videos] transported 1,200 miles across the country, and meticulously reconstructed [video] on the grounds of the museum. Construction is now in the final stages and the house is scheduled to open to the public on November 11, 2015, the fourth anniversary of Crystal Bridges’ opening.
Crystal Bridges Executive Director Rod Bigelow said, “We are excited to share this historic object that embodies our mission to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites art and nature. As the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in Arkansas, it enhances our region’s offerings with unique engagement opportunities for schools, families, and individuals with an interest in architecture, all at no cost to the public.”
Known as the Bachman-Wilson House, the home was threatened by repeated flooding at its original location. The previous owners, architect/designer duo Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino, determined that relocating the house was the best option for preservation. After their multi-year search, Crystal Bridges acquired the house in 2013, and the house arrived in Northwest Arkansas in April, 2014. CBS Sunday Morning captured the epic journey in a story that aired in June, 2015. For more information about the history, visit HERE.
The house is now situated a short distance from the museum, along the trails, with views overlooking the native woodlands and Crystal Spring. The Frank Lloyd Wright house grounds are generously sponsored by P. Allen Smith, Superior Automotive, Harrison and Rhonda French Family, Meza Harris, and the Tartaglino Richards Family Foundation.
The Frank Lloyd Wright house will open to the public on November 11, 2015, with no admission cost, during the same hours as the museum’s art galleries.
Frank Lloyd Wright House Hours and Ticket Information:
Monday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“Our goal is to provide as much access as possible while being responsible stewards of the house,” said Crystal Bridges Chief Engagement Officer Niki Stewart. “To that end, we will welcome visitors to see the house on their own with general admission, or take a guided tour. Because of the intimate size of the house, we are requiring reservations to enter, while the grounds around the house are accessible without a ticket.”
Beginning November 2, tickets may be reserved online or by calling 479-657-2335. Crystal Bridges’ members will have an opportunity to preview the house in advance of the public opening. Member preview tickets may be reserved in person at Guest Services or by calling the Member Priority Line at 479-418-5728, beginning today. Preview tickets are not available online.
Guided tours will be offered five days per week (no tours Tuesday or Friday) as an hour-long indoor and outdoor experience led by specially trained volunteer tour guides.
General admission will be a self-guided experience, available each day except Tuesday.
Notable stops include an architectural exhibition inside the museum’s south corridor, a scale model of the house in the south lobby, and a Welcome Pavilion near the house.
A full schedule will be available soon on the museum’s website.
Become a member and receive benefits such as early access to exhibitions and events. For more information, visit https://crystalbridges.org/get-involved/membership/.
Making Connections through Local Partnership
In addition to making the house available for public appreciation, this project presented an opportunity for Crystal Bridges to collaborate with the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas. Jones, an Arkansas native, met Wright in 1949 and became an apprentice-turned-protégé. In turn, Moshe Safdie, the architect who designed Crystal Bridges, was inspired by Jones’ work.
Crystal Bridges partnered with the school of architecture in the design and construction of the Welcome Pavilion, a structure that serves as an entryway to the site of the Frank Lloyd Wright house. Students in the school’s Design and Fabrication program completed the assembly and built the structure on the museum grounds in 2014. The pavilion will feature information on Frank Lloyd Wright, several of his buildings, and Usonian architecture. Other interactive and digital resources will be available in the museum’s South Lobby, along with a scale model designed by architecture students in the school. The Welcome Pavilion is generously sponsored by Bob and Marilyn Bogle and Greenwood Gearhart, Inc.
“By tracing the path of American architecture for three generations, from Frank Lloyd Wright to Fay Jones to Moshe Safdie, it’s easy to see the connections between their work and the importance they place on nature in their work” said Stewart.
Crystal Bridges’ Library also collaborated with the University of Arkansas Libraries’ Special Collections to create an online exhibition, Fay Jones and Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture Comes to Arkansas, which explores the intersection of the two notable architects with nearly 150 photographs, letters, newspaper articles, and other ephemera.
“The partnership with the University of Arkansas was a natural fit and provides additional research as well as another layer of practice for architecture students,” said Bigelow. “Wright was a proponent of practical building experiences and we think he would be pleased that the process of rebuilding one of his houses affords rare opportunities for the next generation of architects.”