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Luis & Ethel Marden Residence (1952 - S.357)
 
  INTRODUCTION    FLOOR PLAN    PERFORATED LIGHT SCREEN    1959    2015 EXTERIOR    2015 INTERIOR  
 

Introduction

     
"He is the Most Interesting Man In The World!*" He was born in 1913 to Italian parents in Chelsea, Massachusetts. During his first job at radio station, he changed his name from Annibale Luigi Paragallo. He published his first book "Color Photography with the Miniature Camera" at the age of 20. He was hired at the age of 21 as a photographer and writer for National Geographic Magazine. He never went to college, but as a teenager, he had taught himself five languages. In the mid 1950s he dove with Jaques Cousteau and pioneered techniques for underwater color photography. In 1957 he discovered the wreck of Captain Bligh's ship, the HMS Bounty. He later counseled Marlon Brando on his role in "Mutiny on the Bounty."
      
He maintained friendships with King Hussein of Jordan and the King of Tonga. In 1967 he discovered an Aepyornis egg in Madagascar, the worlds largest bird, which went extinct 1000 years ago. He discovered the orchid Epistephium mardenii named after him, and a new species of lobster, later called Dolobrotus mardeni, also named after him.
       In 1986, he and his wife set sail from the Canary Islands, retracing Columbus's journey to the new world, contending that Columbus had landed further South than historians believe. In
  2000, journalist Cathy Newman wrote an article in the National Geographic titled "The Art of Being Luis Marden."
       The actor who plays the fictitious part of "the most interesting man in the world" could only wish he was Luis Marden.
       The Mardens were married in 1939. They first contacted Wright in 1940. But due to Wright's busy schedule, and Marden's extensive travels, it would be over ten years before they saw the first plans, and nearly twenty before the home was complete.
       Ethel recalled in a 2001 interview for the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives that she and Luis had been fishing for hickory shad in the Potomac one day in 1944 near Chain Bridge when they found the site for their future home. "We were fishing down below when my husband looked upstream and saw the cliff and he said, 'I wouldn't mind living up there,'" she said. "So we got in touch with real estate people on Monday morning and found there was land available here on the river. So we bought it."**
       The Marden's received their first set of plans for the home in 1952, and after many requested revisions and delays, construction began 1956, and was completed on May 30, 1959.
       Pictures do not tell a thousand words in this case. Words can not do it justice.
    *By Mark Judge, Acculturate, Templeton Press.
**Save Wright, Susan Stafford, Summer 2008
     
     
     

Marden Residence Floor Plan

 
Floor Plan courtesy of William Storrer, adapted by Douglas M. Steiner.
 
 
 

Marden Residence Perforated Light Screen

 
Marden Residence Perforated Light Screen, adapted by Douglas M. Steiner.
 
 
 
Marden Residence (1959)
 
Date: 1959

Title: Luis Marden Residence (1952 - S.357) circa 1959.

Description: Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1952, the home was completed in 1959. Like the Robert Llewellyn Wright home, Wright utilized what he called a hemicycle design. The home overlooks Potomac River rapids. Marden worked for National Geographic. Viewed from the Southeast, it is a single leveled home, but terraced with retaining walls because of the slop of the property. The Garage is on the far left, the study to its right behind the perforated wall. The Living Room is to the right. Hand written on verso: "View of Rapids on Potomac below. Mr. & Mrs. Luis Marden Res. McLean, VA. (Washington D.C.) (Less Copper Facia)."

Size: Original 10 x 8 B&W photograph.

ST#: 1377.70.0514

   
Date: 1983

Title: An Interview With Ethel C. Marden (Published by the Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)

Author: Marden, Ethel C.; Aspray, William

Description: Abstract: Marden discusses the early use of computers by the U.S. government as seen from the National Bureau of Standards, where she was employed following World War II. She discusses the results of the construction of the Standards Eastern Automatic Computer (SEAC) and points to the prominent role in its design of people who had worked on ENIAC. Marden describes the enthusiasm and work environment of the SEAC project, including accommodations for women to hold professional positions at the same time they were raising families. She points to the success of SEAC as measured by the many government offices that used it. She describes the interactions of NBS with other government agencies and other major computer projects, and describes how NBS recruited talented personnel.

Size: 8.5 x 11

Pages: Pp 30

ST#: 1983.35.1215

   
Date: 2006

Title: National Building Museum Blueprints - Summer 2006 (Published by the National Building Museum, Washington, D. C.)

Author: Moeller, Martin

Description: 1) "No Ordinary Clients. The Story of Luis and Ethel Marden. Famed For His Brilliance and Eccentricity, Frank Lloyd Wright seemed to attract clients who were extraordinary in their own right. It would be impossible, of course, to state definitively which of his clients was the most fascinating, but there can be little doubt that Luis and Ethel Marden, of McLean, Virginia, would be prime candidates for that distinction. Anyone lucky enough to have met the Mardens could recount numerous tales of their improbable exploits: how Luis personally discovered the wreck of the infamous H.M.S. Bounty, for instance..." Includes seven photographs and floor plan.
2) "The Marden House: An Interview with James Kimsey. Martin Moeller: How did your purchase of the Marden House come about? James Kimsey: The Marden House is hard by my house. Every morning when I shave I’m looking out my window at that house, which has been a constant reminder that I needed to do something with it..." Includes two photographs. PDF file of cover and pages 8-13.

Size: 8.5 x 11

Pages: Pp Cover 8-13

ST#: 2006.47.1215

   
Date: 2008

Title: Bulletin, The Quarterly Newsletter of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, Summer 2008 (Published Quarterly by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy)

Author: Stafford, Susan

Description: "The Luis And Ethel Marden House: Adventure in Restoration. Nearly 50 years after its completion in 1959, the Luis and Ethel Marden House, spectacularly situated on a wooded promontory above the roaring Little Falls of the Potomac River in McLean, Virginia, stands as one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most stunning Usonian homes and least known architectural gems. Originally built for renowned National Geographic photographer and explorer, Luis Marden, and his wife, Ethel, one of the first women computer programmers, the residence has been meticulously restored by philanthropist and businessman, James V. Kimsey, founding CEO and chairman emeritus of America Online, Inc..." Includes 8 photographs. PDF file of 5 pages.

Size: 8.5 x 11

Pages: Pp (5)

ST#: 2008.25.1215

   
   
   
Marden Residence Exterior - By Douglas M. Steiner (2015)
   
Date: 2015

Title: Luis & Ethel Marden Residence Exterior (1952 - S.357) photographed on April 6, 2015.

Description: Set of 47 images of the exterior of the Marden Residence photographed on April 6, 2015. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1952, construction began 1956, and was completed on May 30, 1959. Although Luis Marden was a professional photographer, early photographs of the home could not be found, and their desire for privacy kept this Wright home a hidden gem.
       The first "hemicycle" home Frank Lloyd Wright designed was the Jacobs II (1944). He also designed the Meyer (1948), Laurent (1949), Pearce (1950), Marden... (Continue...)

Size: 20 x 14 high res digital color photographs.

ST#: 2015.08.1115 (1-47)

   

 

 (See additional photographs.)

   
   
   

Marden Residence Interior - By Douglas M. Steiner (2015)

   
Date: 2015

Title: Luis & Ethel Marden Residence Exterior (1952 - S.357) photographed on April 6, 2015.

Description: Set of 51 images of the exterior of the Marden Residence photographed on April 6, 2015. As you step through the front door, the view is breathtaking. The house almost appears to float over the Potomac River. A built-in planter-box borders the stairs that lead out to the Promenade. The tinted concrete floor is Cherokee Red. Heating elements embedded in the concrete heated the home. The house is set up on a 4' grid system. The 4 x 4' wood ceiling sections line up with the concrete squares below. Original drawings specify the ceiling height of the lower section of the house at 7' 4"... (Continue...)

Size: 20 x 14 high res digital color photographs.

ST#: 2015.09.1115 (1-51)

   

 

 (See additional photographs.)

   
   
   

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