Building A Frank Lloyd Wright Original Design -The Plans (1)

When Frank Lloyd Wright died in 1959, a moratorium was placed on his designs by Mrs. Wright for a period of twenty-five years.  When this moratorium was lifted in 1984, it was done so in recognition by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation that it was the philosophy of Mr. Wright that was so important. Therefore plans were allowed to be built using the latest technology and materials in keeping with his philosophy of ” Organic Architecture.” In so doing only the Taliesin Architects, the architectural arm of the Frank LLoyd Wright Foundation, were permitted to supervise the construction of his designs. The Foundation retained the ownership of all designs, but licensed the right to build to prospective clients. Taliesin Architects determined that a particular design was site suitable,  prepared the working drawings to meet local building codes, and supervised the actual construction. The Sims House was a 1954  house design originally intended  for the Cornwell family in Pennsylvania. It finally came to life on the Island of Hawaii in 1996.

  1. It is in the class of designs referred to as a hemicycle. Passive solar in nature it is designed to face southwards using the sun’s low trajectory in the winter to create passive heat.  In the summer the sun’s high trajectory would allow the large roof overhang to  shade the sun’s rays thereby keeping the interior cool. Originally we were going to build the Hargrove Home designed for California, but as luck would have it,  John Rattenbury, the supervising architect, was visiting the site on a day when the trade winds were vicious, almost unhinging his car door as it opened.
  2. The third of doughnut design uses an earth berm to back up to the second floor thus allowing the strong trade winds to rise up the berm and pass over the flat roof while providing a protected area in the  house front.
  3. The second floor hangs from the ceiling secured by tie rods attached to the large beams holding up the roof. This eliminates posts on the first floor and makes the second floor appear to be suspended in space. The effect creates more of  a feeling of unity between the indoors and outdoors.
  4. The entrance of the house is somewhat obscure because you walk past the carport to a narrow passageway. You are  then thrust into a magnificent unobstructed vista of  some 360,000 acres, three volcanoes and the ocean. The front of the house to your immediate left features a two story  concave wall of glass doors and transom windows.
  5. The house took four years to build, mainly because I was on a cash basis. I had a small loyal crew and the helping hand of unforeseen forces. You might say I was extremely naïve. I had no general contractor, but the right people and necessary money kept showing up. Upon completion, John Rattenbury, the supervising architect, gave the construction job an A+. During the building phase there were several earthquakes in the 5 zone of the Richter Scale. Later  a big 6.9 shake. The house sustained no damage.
  6. I hope to post a short series on the evolution of the house and the finished product.
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  1. Awesome post, hey I came across this story while searching for music lyrics. Thanks for sharing I’ll email my friends about this too.

  2. Dolly says:

    Ya he visto algunos hay …


  3. Tim says:

    Do a set of construction plans for this house exist? It looks like a very beautiful house. Is this on the “Register” of FLW designed house?



  4. jjMichael says:

    I shouldn’t be surprizing so hard at that.

  5. Hi, You have a Great Blog, I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep it up.

  6. Dougles says:

    Nombre de a GoogleReader!
    Have a nice day


  7. Tim says:

    I am going to look at this house this coming Saturday. Do you have more information on the construction of this house?

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Tim,

      I have a book coming out this summer which describes the journey of building this house, but I am posting the genesis now bit by bit. If you have a particular question ask me. Sandy

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