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Fawcett House

Arthur Dyson Architects

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  • Arthur Dyson

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3,800 sq. feet


Design Awards

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2015 Residential Architect Design Awards

An extensive restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1955 Fawcett House in the San Joaquin Valley community of Los Banos, Calif., has allowed the home to reclaim its place as representative of the master’s later work. The 3,800-square-foot single-story structure had suffered structural failures, leaks, out-of-date building systems, and various additions that detracted from its utility and the rigor of its triangular grid-based design. Consulting with a cadre of Wright experts—including Wright’s grandson, Eric Lloyd Wright, and the original owner’s daughter—Fresno, Calif.–based Arthur Dyson Architect brought the three-winged structure back to life by preserving when possible and restoring when necessary. Several Wright-designed features, including a forecourt and a cauldron in the living room fireplace, had not been executed during the original construction, but Arthur Dyson Architect added them as they had been designed more than a half-century before, completing Wright’s initial vision. —Edward Keegan, AIA

From the Jury
“Given the number of projects that are being destroyed these days, it’s reassuring to see two Frank Lloyd Wright projects getting this treatment.” —John Frane

Project Credits

Architect: Arthur Dyson Architect, Fresno, Calif.—Arthur Dyson, AIA
Project Size: 3,800 square feet
Construction Cost: $191 per square foot

Click here to see all of the winners of the 2015 Residential Architect Design Awards.

Project Description

Restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1955 Fawcett house in Los Banos, California began in July 2012. The restoration architect studied the original plans, historic and family photographs, and conferred with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives, and members of the Taliesin Fellowship to insure vital colors, finishes and details. Lynn Fawcett Whiting, the owner’s daughter, Frank Lloyd Wright’s grandson, architect Eric Lloyd Wright and Frank Lloyd Wright’s interior designer for the home, Cornelia Brierley were also consulted throughout. Additionally, the restoration closely followed the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Guidelines and Standards for historic preservation. While preserving as much of the original structure as possible, the restoration involved structural stabilization, selective demolition of previous additions and alterations, updating of building systems (including mechanical, electrical and plumbing), and complete interior and exterior restoration – walls, floors, walks, doors, windows, hardware, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed furniture, and fireplaces. The original design sketches by Frank Lloyd Wright showed several items such as a caldron in the Living Room fireplace and a forecourt for the entry and carport area. None of these were built by the original owners, but were completed as part of the restoration. Although in dire need of refurbishing, the mahogany paneling, doors and cabinets remained otherwise relatively unscathed. Original hardware was refinished and restored. After extensive research and countless color samples, the concrete block walls that had been painted pink were returned to their original color. A serious ridge failure at east end of Living Room was structurally corrected and the original ceiling finish was replicated in the repairs. Failing cement plaster soffits were removed and re-plastered using the original color and textures. Fractured and uplifted colored concrete walks were replaced and extensive grading and drainage was employed to correct flooding and water damage that the home had suffered from its beginning. Today this iconic structure proudly stands as a testament to the later work of this important American architect.

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