The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas has acquired a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian House known as the Bachman Wilson House. Built in 1954 and located in Millstone, N.J., Somerset County the house was been continually threatened by flooding by the nearby Millstone River. Due to repeated flooding, the house sustained significant damage and relocation is the only way to save the structure.
The current owners, Sharon and Lawrence Tarantino, architects who themselves have preserved other Wright buildings, conducted a multi-year search for an appropriate buyer who also had an appropriate site. At Crystal Bridges the house will sit on 120-acres and be available for study by scholars as well as for limited tours and programming.
Crystal Bridges’ educational and public programme offerings include an architectural focus that will be enhanced through the addition of the Bachman Wilson House to its grounds. Thanks to an ongoing partnership with the University of Arkansas, Crystal Bridges anticipates additional development of educational programmes specifically related to the university’s Fay Jones School of Architecture. Jones worked with Wright so the acquisition of the house is particularly fitting.
“We’re honoured to be able to preserve and share this significant example of American Architecture, as Frank Lloyd Wright’s work embodies our own mission of celebrating art and nature,” said Crystal Bridges Executive Director Rod Bigelow. “The Usonian concept was intended to provide access to architectural quality for all families, which melds well with our philosophy of welcoming all to view American masterworks in our natural setting.”
“Once the decision was made to move the house, many opportunities presented themselves to us,” said Lawrence Tarantino. It became clear that there could be no better opportunity for the preservation of this important work of Frank Lloyd Wright than to secure its future stewardship in perpetuity as a public institution with a mission of celebrating American art and architecture on site offering the proper setting, and with the capability of providing for its future maintenance and preservation, all of which Crystal Bridges offers.”
The Tarantinos will work with Crystal Bridges, supervising the dismantling and reassembly of the house on its new site in Arkansas.