Phoenix Frank Lloyd Wright house to be donated to architecture school

PHOENIX -

A Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix that the famous architect designed for his son was donated Thursday to the school bearing his name years after it was saved from demolition.

Owner Zach Rawling was set to announce Thursday that he is gifting the David and Gladys Wright House to the School of Architecture at Taliesin, formerly known as the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The announcement came on what would be Wright's 150th birthday.

PHOTOS: Five dramatic Frank Lloyd Wright homes 

Nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain, the house is constructed in the form of a spiral that appears to rise from the ground and offers 360 degree views of Camelback and other mountains that loom over the city.

The house built in 1952 is regarded as the precursor to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, according to Aaron Betsky, the school's dean. The Guggenheim museum is one of Wright's most revered works. The architect designed over 1,000 architectural works, 532 which were built, and he is regarded by many as one of America's best architects.

Rawling purchased the Phoenix home in 2012 for $2.4 million with plans to restore it and turn it into a museum. But neighbors complained doing so would generate excessive traffic in the well-heeled residential Arcadia area where the house is located.

He said he hopes the donation will engage the community and continue the school's mission.

"I think we're celebrating every aspect of Wright's legacy and hopefully it informs future generations to carry on those ideas," Rawling said.

The David and Gladys Wright House is considered one of Wright's late career masterworks, said Victor Sidy, the architect in charge of the home's renovation.

Wright called plans for the home "How to Live in the Southwest." His son and daughter-in-law lived in it until they died.

The home will be transformed into a place for architecture students to do hands-on restoration and renovation projects.

They'll work on projects like correcting leaks in the ceiling and corrosion in some metal work. Students will also restore an old pool.

The school plans to have 24 students at the house starting in the fall. Visitors will be allowed when the school holds educational tours and lectures.

"It's definitely one of those buildings that is worth visiting to truly understand," Sidy said.

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