Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spring House in Tallahassee, Florida, has been shortlisted as one of America’s most endangered historic places. The National Trust for Historic Preservation just announced the list of 11 buildings, which includes a major 19th-century slave trading center in Richmond, Virginia, and the Music Hall and Union Terminal in Cincinnati.
Spring House is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s late-career hemicycle-shaped buildings built in 1954 for Clifton Van Brunt Lewis and her family. The building was constructed with cypress siding and columns, which makes it look like a ship. Although there are around 400 Frank Lloyd Wright houses throughout the country, Spring House is one the few from his hemicycle series. Over the years the house has suffered significant damage. Exposure to hurricanes and wind storms has led to water intrusion, and the damage is visible throughout the interior of the house. The cypress columns have deteriorated at their bases, while the façade has suffered damage by insects, woodpeckers and other forest animals.
Spring House Institute, established by the owner, is dedicated to restoring the house and turning it into a teaching institute. National Trust’s shortlist draws attention to architectural gems like this one and the issue facing historic preservation. According to the National Trust, the federal historic tax credit has “attracted $109 billion to the rehabilitation of nearly 40,000 historic commercial buildings in the U.S., creating 2.4 million jobs and sparking downtown revitalization nationwide.” With the possibility of that incentive disappearing, even buildings designed by icons like Wright face potential demolition.
Images via Spring House Institute