UK Planning Inspector Blocks “Unexceptional” Frank Lloyd Wright House

Bachman Wilson House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. ©Tarantino Studio 2013
Bachman Wilson House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (©Tarantino Studio 2013)

The construction of the first Frank Lloyd Wright house in the UK has been officially derailed by planning officials who just can’t see what all the fuss over Wright is about, Architect’s Journal reported.

The plan was dreamed up by Dr. Hugh Petter, who spent eight years pursuing permission from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to implement an unused design from 1947. Wright created it for a couple in Santa Barbara, California, though it was never built. After receiving approval to use it, Petter commissioned foundation-trained architect Stephen Brooks to realize Wright’s vision for his property in Tyntesfield Springs.

But horrified that an “odd American-designed house” should blight their English countryside, the North Somerset planning committee rejected Petter’s plan. “Outside of the USA and Japan, there is not one Frank Lloyd Wright designed house,” Wraxall councilor Bob Cook observed. “He can’t be that influential if the rest of the world doesn’t want them.”

Petter appealed their decision and even created a short film he hoped might convince officials of the Guggenheim architect’s importance. But the plan has now been blocked again by inspector Edward Gerry, who shares Cook’s concerns.

“At the time of its conception the design may have been considered to be highly innovative and exceptional,” he said. “Nonetheless, in my view, the design, including in terms of its horizontal form and its use of materials, would not be of exceptional quality or of an innovative nature when considered against modern construction techniques.”

Wright enthusiasts may still have to travel to the American Colonies to get their fix, but at least Cook is pleased. “It would have been verging on criminal to stick a monstrosity such as this in the Wraxall countryside,” he told The Bristol Post.

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