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Wright Studies
Conrad and Evelyn Gordon Residence, Wilsonville, Oregon (1956) (S.419)

Living in the great Northwest, I have had the opportunity to visit the Gordon House many times. The first was during the Gordon House move to the Oregon Gardens in March 2001, and at the same time the abandoned site. Again in September of 2001 during reconstruction, the grand opening on March 2, 2002 and a number of times since then when I am in the area.
       Much has been written about the Gordon House since its rescue and relocation. Located in Wilsonville from 1963 until 2001 until it was rescued from destruction and moved to the Oregon Gardens in Silverton, Oregon. Originally designed in 1956 with a budget of $25,000, construction did not begin for seven years, and construction estimates more than doubled to $56,000.  The 2,100-square-foot Gordon House was completed in 1964 and was based on Wright’s "House for a Family of $5-6,000 Income" plan, which was published in a 1938 issue of Life magazine.  E. J. Strandberg was the builder. Burton Goodrich, who apprentice with Wright in the 1950s, oversaw the construction. Who would have ventured a guess that

 

nearly forty years later Burton would again supervise the dismantling and reassembling of the Gordon House in Silverton.
       There are many classic Wright details. The basic materials are concrete blocks, local cedar and a red concrete floor with radiant heat, designed on a seven foot grid. There are three sets of double wood framed glass doors on the East and West side of the Living Room. They open outward and are one and a half stories tall. Two cantilevered balconies on the second floor with walls that step inward as they rise. Cantilevered and trellised roof overhangs. Rows of vertical block piers. There are windows with perforated cut-wood light screens. The hidden entrance. Flush vertical joints and raked horizontal joints. The vertical cedar siding is the exact height of the concrete block and lines up with the joints. Like many of Wright’s homes, he designed the built-in seating, many of the fixtures and some of the furniture.  Conrad Gordon pasted away in 1979. Evelyn continued to live in the home until she passed away in 1997.      May 2007

 
 

"House for Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Gordon".  This is a poster reproduction of the original drawing for the Gordon's. The occasion was for the saving of the Gordon House from destruction, by relocating it to The Oregon Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Copyright 2001.
 

Detail from original drawing.  Image 4 from May 2007 is a close perspective to the original drawing.

 
Images:
 May 2007    March 2002    March & September 2001   Floor Plan    Books and Articles  
 
Exterior Photographs By Douglas Steiner, May 2007 (Silverton, Oregon)
Living in the great Northwest, I have had the opportunity to visit the Gordon House many times.  There are many classic Wright details. The basic materials are concrete blocks, local cedar and a red concrete floor with radiant heat, designed on a seven foot grid. There are three sets of double wood framed glass doors on the East and West side of the Living Room. They open outward and are one and a half stories tall. Two   cantilevered balconies on the second floor with walls that step inward as they rise. Cantilevered and trellised roof overhangs. Rows of vertical block piers. There are windows with perforated cut-wood light screens. The hidden entrance. Flush vertical joints and raked horizontal joints. The vertical cedar siding is the exact height of the concrete block and lines up with the joints.
 
 
Grand Opening Photographed By Douglas Steiner, March 2002 (Silverton, Oregon)

The grand opening of the restored Gordon House took place on March 2 - 3, 2002. Saturday included an in-depth tour and a panel discussion including: Frank Mataro who worked on the Guggenheim Museum; Jack Quina, Director of the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, NY; Hetty Startup, Site Administrator for the Zimmerman House in Manchester, NH; and Lynda Waggoner, the Director of Fallingwater, Wright's most famous building. The panel was moderated by Professor Neil Levine, a noted Wright author and scholar, Gleason Professor, Department of the History

 

of Art and Architecture, Harvard University. “Restoring it Wright”, the panel discussion covered many aspects, challenges and rewards, of restoring a Wright building and operating a Wright home as a “house museum”. Saturday evening at the Portland Art Museum, Neil Levine presented a lecture entitled "Wright's Gordon House Move and Reconstruction” by Kim Knox, project manager. These images are of the Gordon House after the move and installation, but before final restoration was complete.                           March 2002

 
 
Saved from destruction. The Move.
March 14, 2001 and September 16, 2001 (Silverton and Wilsonville, Oregon)

The original 22 acre site that once was home to the Gordon House, was sold by the Gordon's son in September, 2000. The new owners were not interested in the Home, but the property and slated it for destruction, not knowing it was a Wright home. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy was notified. Agreements were reached. The interior wood paneling, built-in furniture, doors, cabinets and shelves were carefully removed, packaged and marked to assure an accurate restoration and reassembly. The roof was removed, then the upper story was cut from the lower.

 

The concrete red floor, many of the concrete blocks and interior shower tiles could not be saved. In February and March of 2001 the dismantled Gordon House was moved in pieces, 25 miles away to the Oregon Gardens in Silverton. The building was sited in the exact orientation as the original house. In September of 2001, the reconstructed but incomplete Gordon house was open for public tours. I had the opportunity to visit the original and new site on March 14, 2001, and tour the work in progress on September 16, 2001.
                        March 2001 & September 2001

 
 
Text and Photographs by Douglas M. Steiner, Copyright 2001
 
 
Gordon House Floor Plan
Floor plan copyright 1993, “The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion” Storrer, William Allin, page 451.
 
 
Usonian Automatic Homes (Built)
 
 
Related Items From the Usonian Automatic Traveling Exhibit
Books, Brochures, PR, Articles
 
 
Related Books
"Frank Lloyd Wright Monograph 1951-1959", Text: Pfeiffer, Bruce Brooks;
Edited and Photographed: Futagawa, Yukio, 1990, page 282-283.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion”, Storrer, William Allin, 1993, page 451.
"Frank Lloyd Wright: The Western Work", Legler, Dixie, 1999, page 96-99.
"The Vision of Frank Lloyd Wright" Heinz, 2000, page 265, 272.
"The Gordon House: A Moving Experience" Woodin, Larry, 2002.
"Frank Lloyd Wright American Master", Weintraub; Smith, 2009, pages 346-347.
"Frank Lloyd Wright, Complete Works 1943-1959", Pfeiffer; Gossel, 2009, page 454.
 
 
Related Images and Articles
(Note, due to the fact that the internet is constantly changing, and items that
are posted change, I have copied the text, but give all the credits available.)
A) "Saving Wright's Gordon House", by Brian Libby, January 24, 2001.
B) "Agreement saves Wright's Gordon Residence from Demolition", by Richard Hovey,
C) "Short Trips: Wright home a tribute to preservation efforts", February 28, 2002, by Jeff Larsen.
D) Photographs from original site.  Photographs © 2000 Kris Olson, Text © 2000 David Sides
 
 
Additional Wright Studies
  Banff National Park Pavilion (S.170)    Bitter Root Inn (S.145)    Blair Residence (S.351)    Blumberg Residence (Project) 
  Brandes Residence (S.350)    Como Orchard Summer Colony (S.144)    Elam Residence (S.336)    "Eve of St. Agnes" (1896) 
 Frank L. Smith Bank (S.111)    Gordon Residence (S.419)    Griggs Residence (S.290)    Henderson Residence (S.057)  
  "House Beautiful" 1896-98    Imperial Hotel (S.194) Silverware and Monogram    Kalil Residence (S.387)    Lake Geneva Hotel (S.171)  
  Lamp Cottage, Rocky Roost (S.021)    Lockridge Medical Clinic (S.425)    March Balloons    Midway Gardens (S.180)  
  Midway Gardens Dish (S.180)    Roloson Rowhouse (S.026)    Shavin Residence (S.339)   Sixty Years Exhibition 1951-56 
  Stohr Arcade (S.162)   Stromquiest Residence (S.429)   Teater Studio (S.352)    Tracy Residence (S.389)   
 Trier Residence (S.398)    Usonian Automatic Homes    Zimmerman Residence, (S.333) 
 
  Frank Lloyd Wright's First Published Article (1898) 
 
Photographic Chronology of Frank Lloyd Wright Portraits
 

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