Frank Lloyd Wright is said to have been the most important American architect of the 20th century. There were two Frank Lloyd Wright houses built in New Mexico. The first, a compact home in Pecos, southeast of Santa Fe was designed and built in 1952 during the great architect’s lifetime. The other, the Pottery House in Santa Fe, was built posthumously. According to architect, Arnold Roy, who trained with Wright and worked for his firm Taliesin Associated Architects (TAA) , any homes built after Wright’s death get the designation “based on a design by Frank Lloyd Wright.” Due to building codes and other considerations, the original homes cannot be reproduced exactly as they appear in the original plans and must be modified to meet building code and site requirements. Currently, there’s s a moratorium by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation on all his archived plans, which makes this home even more special.
The original house, commissioned by Texan Lloyd Burlingham in 1941, was to be built on land he owned outside El Paso. The plans, according to the Frank Lloyd Foundation, were completed in 1942. The Pottery House was designed to be built of adobe to take advantage of the building materials available on the Burlingham property. It was never built and the plans were filed away.
In 1982, builder/developer Charles Klotsche hired Scottsdale, Arizona firm, Taliesin Associated Architects (TAA) to update and enlarge the original design to fit the Santa Fe site an better meet his needs. Architect Charles Montooth, a former Wright apprentice, was in charge of the project. The original 2400 square foot home was expanded to 4900 square feet.
The house, designed to look like a piece of Native American pottery with rounded sides, was influenced by Wright’s Usonian period (an acronym for United States of North America). These spare designs featured lots of light, varied ceiling heights and a central fireplace. The Pottery House has a total of seven fireplaces including a wood burning grill in the compact kitchen. The home also features built-ins, a Wright signature feature. There is a radiant heating system, a concept Wright pioneered. According to Roy, when the designer was in Tokyo in 1914 designing the Imperial Hotel, his host introduced him to an ancient Korean secret. They heated their homes for over 2,500 years by running their chimney flues under masonry floors. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Wright adapted this technique, running hot water pipes through concrete floors.
The home is surrounded by outdoor living spaces including courtyards and patios. The house was sited to take advantage of the spectacular Sangre de Christo and Jemez Mountain views. At night, the twinkling lights below in Santa Fe are spectacular.
Montooth created an exterior wall of glass in the gallery leading to four of the five bedrooms (the fifth, a second master, is on the far side of the house off the kitchen). These bedrooms have large windows and glass doors opening onto the hallway affording the rooms maximum light. The two master baths have sunken soaking tubs. The secondary bedrooms have narrow sunken tub/shower combos. Perhaps the home’s most luxurious feature is the swimming pool Montooth added that can be accessed directly from one of the home’s two master bedrooms.
The Pottery House, currently on the market, was included in Santa Fe Properties’ 2012 Art of Home Tour, part of the annual ARTFeast. This free tour, that teams some of the city’s galleries with high-end homes on the market, gave many people an opportunity they wouldn’t normally have to see this unique home.
If you have a spare four million dollars and change lying around, here’s your chance to live in a home with Frank Lloyd Wright’s imprint on it. If not, enjoy the photos. Take advantage of next year’s tour; there may be another amazing architectural treasure on it. You never know.
This is a post in our Santa Fe Treasures series. Here are the other posts in the series:
Santa Fe Treasures: Architect John Gaw Meem and the Pueblo Revival
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa: Then and now
Santa Fe Treasures: Forked Lightning Ranch
Santa Fe art- Margarete Bagshaw: Breaking the Rules