Did you know that the Guggenheim Museum isn't the only building that Frank Lloyd Wright built for New York City? Before that iconic building went up, two of his other designs were built on the same lot of land, and now the museum is hosting an exhibition about them.
"A Long-Awaited Tribute: Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian House and Pavilion," will be running through February 13th, 2013, and highlights the Usonian house and pavilion that were built on the museum's then-future site in 1953, six years before the museum would open. The old buildings housed a temporary exhibition displaying the architect’s lifelong work.
"Constructed to adjoin the museum, then located in a townhouse on Fifth Avenue near East 88th Street, Wright’s temporary pavilion was made of glass, fiberboard, and pipe columns, measuring 145 feet long and covering nearly 10,000 square feet with a roof that was over 20 feet at its peaked ridge.
Inside the pavilion, a traveling exhibition featured sixteen models of Wright’s renowned buildings, accompanied by photographs, floor plans, and drawings. Also featured with the exhibition was a full-scale model of Wright’s Usonian house, built to the northeast of the pavilion and accessible through a courtyard and garden. The 1,700-squarefoot, fully furnished, two-bedroom house represented a concept first developed by Wright in the mid-1930s, during the midst of the economic depression. The modest, distinctively American, middle-class dwelling featured seven rooms that were fully equipped with everything from pots and pans to cosmetics.
Additionally, the model Usonian house was outfitted with furniture designed by Wright and decorated with various artworks, including mobiles created by Alexander Calder. The two structures were open to the public from October 22 to December 13, 1953, after which they were disassembled in early 1954."
They were the first Frank Lloyd Wright buildings erected in NYC. And it turns out they were found dismantled in a basement storeroom in Westchester County in the 1980s—The NY Times reported at the time that the estimated total cost of reconstructing the house (including building a foundation and adding a heating system) would be $250,000.