Friday, December 2, 2016

FLLW Usonian homes in Kansas City

Frank Lloyd Wright designed 2 Usonian homes for Kansas City. Both houses are still used as private residences.

The Sondern/Adler house

The Clarence Sondern house was designed in 1939 and built in 1940. It is located in the Roanoak neighborhood near the KU Medical Center. The house was only 900 sq ft when originally built. It is a single level with a flat roof.


The house is sometimes called the Sonder/Adler house referring to Arnold Adler, the second owner of the house. Adler hired Wright to design and build an expansion of the home in 1948. The size of the house was increased to just over 2900 sq ft.

You can arrange to stay overnight at the Sonder/Adler home through Airbnb for about $300 per night.

The Bott house

The Bott house was designed and built for Frank and Eloise Bott in 1957. The story goes that the Botts visited Wright at Taliesin to plead with him to design a home for them. When Wright learned they had just purchased a lot on the edge of a hill overlooking Kansas City, he was sold.

The house sits on a steep bluff and is supported by a large stone wall. Wright utilized his desert stone system extensively throughout the home in both the exterior and interior walls. The home maintains his familiar L shape with a car port on the end. Because of it's placement on the bluff, the home offers an almost 180 degree view of the area. Eloise Bott lived in the home until 1987.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Marcel Breuer Snower House in Kansas City

In 1953, Robert and Marianne Snower wrote Marcel Breuer to ask if he would design a home for them in Kansas City. The result of that letter is one of the best known examples of mid-century modern architecture in the KC area.

Breuer designed a home for the Snowers and it was completed in 1954. The Snowers lived in the home for the rest of their lives, the house being sold by Mr Snower's estate in 2013. The home was bought by a local couple intent on preserving it and not allowing the home to be torn down and replaced by an ugly McMansion. Robert Barnes and Karen Bisset are passionate about mid-century architecture. Not only did they purchase the home to preserve and protect it, they hired Hufft projects to perform a complete restoration of the home and bring it back to it's original state.

I believe Hufft did a wonderful job in restoring the home! They endeavored to bring the home back to it's original condition while updating things as minimally as possible. The exterior siding was restored and repaired as necessary. The original colors were used as prescribed by Breuer. Luckily Mr Snower had kept all of his correspondence with Breuer including the original paint color chips. The original walnut floors were refinished and the kitchen updated to accommodate today's needs.

The home sits on a corner lot at 6701 Belinder Ave, Mission Hills, KS. It totals just under 1800 sq ft on the main floor with a smaller basement beneath due to the cantilevered upper floor. On the main floor it has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, kitchen, dining, living and entry.

Breuer was one of the best known modernist architects in the world at the time the home was designed. Breuer was born in Hungary, was a student and faculty member at the Bauhaus school in Germany during the 20's and 30's. He emigrated to the US eventually teaching at the Harvard school of Design. Marcel Breuer designs include furniture, houses and commercial buildings.

Now restored, the home is on the market for $925,000. The Snower home is a cool piece of local architecture. If they ever open it for tours, you should take the opportunity to see a classic design by a master architect.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Modern architecture in KC

I love modern architecture! I have for some years and I have a small business where I design modern style homes for people across North America. I design homes for my customers because I enjoy the creative process and I enjoy seeing families live in and enjoy the homes I designed for them.

But this blog is not about that in any way. I have created this blog to post information about modern residential architecture in the Kansas City metro area. Other than a link to my my company blog, and occasionally post items about a local project, I promise to keep any connection to my business to a minimum.

KC has a long history of modern residential architecture with buildings by world famous architects as well as many by local architects. There are a number of classic modern homes built in the 50's and 60's, with possibly more "new" modern homes built in the past 10 years during a resurgence of modernism.

I plan to include posts for all of the above, some old, some new. Maybe interviews with owners, builders and architects or designers. And there may be posts about other architecture related subjects.

I welcome any input on the above topics. If you are passionate about modern architecture, please comment on this blog. As long as your comments are civil, I will post them. Or you can send me ideas of things to post here. If you know of an interesting architecture related blog or site, please let me know and I can add a link here.

Anyway, more to come in the near future.