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The Circuitous History of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Circular Home

Rescued from the wrecking ball, it now needs a buyer with a passion for architecture to preserve it.

The circular Phoenix home that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son David and daughter-in-law Gladys is on the market with an asking price of $12.95 million. The David and Gladys Wright House, which sits on 5.9 lush acres in Phoenix’s affluent Arcadia neighborhood and offers sweeping views of the nearby Camelback Mountain, is widely considered the architect’s last great residential masterpiece. It also helped inspire the architect’s most iconic spiral creation, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

Built in 1952, six years before the completion of the Guggenheim, the 2,553-square-foot, coiling concrete-block home features three bedrooms and four baths, along with a recently restored 360-square-foot guesthouse. As with the Guggenheim, a dramatic spiral ramp leads up to the entrance of the home, with a further spiral leading to a rooftop deck. The circular theme continues with the kitchen—which includes the original G.E. Stratoliner electric stove—and cantilevered master bedroom.

Inside, many of the original custom-designed Philippine mahogany furniture pieces remain, though the March Balloons circular rug in the living room is a reproduction; the original was sold at auction in 2010.

David and Gladys Wright House

Living area  Photo Credit: Courtesy

For a house with such remarkable architectural significance, it seems incomprehensible that back in 2012, a previous owner attempted to have the property demolished to make way for new homes. It was rescued by Arizona lawyer and developer Zach Rawling, who paid $2.38 million to acquire it.

Mr. Rawling established the nonprofit David and Gladys Wright House Foundation with the hope of one day turning it into a museum and learning center. Plans were shuttered after neighbors objected that it would become a busy tourist destination. Last June, Mr. Rawling donated the house to the Scottsdale-based School of Architecture at Taliesin, the institution Wright founded in 1932. However, after fundraising concerns, the school and Mr. Rawlings dissolved their partnership, and the house is now being offered for sale.

Bob Hassett of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty holds the listing.

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