Sunday, September 19, 2010

Being Outside the Mainstream

"Modernist designs still remain outside the mainstream aesthetic," many preferring homes that architectural aficionados refer to as "McMansions." (See “Too New for New Canaan?”) While Americans invest in the mainstream, foundations like "Save Wright" and Hollywood actors like Diane Keaton who publicized the need to restore and preserve Wright's Ennis house, struggle to preserve the works of Frank Lloyd Wright throughout the U.S. The Ennis home is now being offered for sale, with substantial price decreases offered to tease prospective buyers; none, apparently, have yet come up to the plate.

Don Erickson was an apprentice to Wright between 1948 and 1951, leaving Taliesin to develop his architectural practice. His first creation began with the Inverness home, which, ironically, is now being offered for sale. David and Violet Gustafson later acquired the Inverness home from Gunnar and Ebba Erickson, and within a few years commissioned a new home in Winnetka, Illinois, a home which, also ironic, was leveled in 2009 to make room for a new addition on adjoining property. See link below.

Outside the Mainstream; Nature Influences Design
To appreciate a Don Erickson designed home, one must appreciate nature, for aside from being schooled in the Wright tradition, Don was influenced by what he saw. . . from the structure of a diatom observed under the microscope to the “engineering” of a nautilus shell with its spiral design. An avid reader of medical journals, science and physics, perhaps Don would have made a great doctor but, it appears, that design was part of his genetic make-up as it was part of his Swedish family tradition. It seems that he was born to be an architect.

In observing Falling Waters in Pennsylvania, I was awestruck by the graceful manner in which Wright’s house became integral with the water falls themselves, and how the house invited nature inside, offering its guests a private retreat where they could listen to the symphony created by the rushing waters below.

Having myself resided in traditional American homes, I have always felt enclosed and cut-off from the natural world. But, life in my father’s home was a blending of nature with human creation. One could feel the seamless connection with the trees and grasses outside, or the snow in winter, a private retreat. Thus, to appreciate a Don Erickson designed residence, or his own home which is being offered for sale, one must also appreciate and marvel at nature.

It requires a unique buyer to appreciate a unique home.

Email me for specifics:

No comments: