11 July 2009

Kraus House

Look where I went today . . .

In my neighborhood (it took us all of 10 minutes to get there - wouldn' ta taken that long but I took a wrong turn) there is an amazing Frank Loyd Wright house, which he designed in 1951 for Russell and Ruth Kraus at Ebsworth Park.

Here's the floor plan.
The Kraus's wanted a Usonian house--these were designs Wright intended to be affordable, accessible works of art for middle class people to live in. Though the Usonians were rarely affordable (this one being no exception) the Kraus House is certainly a work of art--Russell and Ruth saw to that. They insisted on following Wright's design with meticulous accuracy. If a change was thought necessary, they first had it approved in writing by Wright. Because they had no children, the Kraus House was only ever gently used and it's owners were able to leave it to the County.

The house is an excellent showcase of Wright's late aesthetic. The intersecting parallelograms in the design, the cantilevered roof, seemingly unsupported glass corners, open living space, as well as the building's horizontality and harmonious situation within the landscape are all typical of Wright's designs. Walking through that house is like walking through a pictorial summary of major developments of Wright's career.

Although Matthew and I were properly fascinated by all of this, Dandelion was not. Because she was too bored to bare it any longer, we ducked out of the brief video of the house's history so that she could run around. Here she is, playing on the steps behind the tool shed.

I was also able to persuade her to go stand by the other end of the house by the master bedroom, which she obligingly did until it began to rain.

The tour of the interior was excellent and informative. We were permitted to walk the surrounding grounds and to go into every room in the house. Our guide seemed to have a story for every nook and cranny in the place. I enjoyed every bit of it.

To see the house you have to make an appointment and it costs $10 for grown ups, half that for kids under 12. They have all kinds of events coming up. See for yourself at their site.


kat said...

I'm jealous. That like so much fun.

Andrew Raimist said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful photographs and comments. The house truly is a work of art.

I'm fortunate to be living nearby myself.

Mary Ann said...

thanks, Andrew. These days I'm only in St. Louis for a few weeks in the summer, but it's places like this one that keep me coming back.