A Rare Frank Gehry–Designed Residence Goes Up for Auction

The multistructured home is a significant example of his signature style.

The Canadian-born architect Frank Gehry may be most well known for designing unorthodox public spaces such as the undulating Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. But the 86-year-old Pritzker Prize winner has also completed about 10 residential properties—one of which will be auctioned off May 19 by the Chicago-based Wright auction house.

Lifelong Minnesotans Penny and Mike Winton commissioned Gehry to design a 2,300-square-foot home on Lake Minnetonka in 1982 as guest accommodations for their boxy brick home—which was originally designed by Philip Johnson in the early 1950s for the director of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and his personal art collection. Gehry was still a budding architect at the time, and he received the project because Johnson never replied when the Wintons attempted to contact him. Precursory clues to Gehry’s later work can be seen in the home’s design, including its conceptual resemblance to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which he would not complete until 1997. Ironically, that same year, Philip Johnson was said to have called the groundbreaking Spanish museum “the greatest building of our time.”

The deconstructivist-style home was meant to play with the idea of architecture as sculpture and is inspired by the work of Italian artist Giorgio Morandi. Its six geometric shapes—each rendered in different materials such as brick that matches the original Johnson home and dolomite limestone from southern Minnesota—house separate rooms, including two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Though the home is estimated to fetch as much as $1.5 million, the land it occupies is not included. The new owners will have to invest roughly another $1 million to relocate the home from its current location at the University of St. Thomas’s conference center in Owatonna, Minn., where it was moved from its original location in 2008. (wright20.com)

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