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Paul and Ida Trier Residence, Johnston, Iowa (1956 - S.398)
   
The average temperature in early March hovers around freezing in central Iowa. Our stop in Johnston, Iowa, just north of Des Moines was no different. On a trip from Chicago to Seattle with my daughter, we had the opportunity to visit with Ida Trier and see the home that has been her residence for over fifty years. Icicles hung from the eaves, creating natural designs. "I wanted a home where icicles by invitation might beautify the eves... icicles came to hang staccato from the eaves." wrote Frank Lloyd Wright, in his Autobiography.
      We timidly knocked on the door, wanting to photograph the exterior of the home. Ida Trier answered and graciously invited us to view the Living Room. Images came flooding back of my visit in 1989, to the Usonian Automatic Traveling Exhibit in Bellevue, Washington.
      Our conversation drifted back to her experience with Wright, and building their home. I asked why they decided to hire Frank Lloyd Wright to design a home for them. Without hesitation she answered, "My husband Paul said we couldn't afford a $40,000 piece of artwork, but we could afford a house that was a piece of art." She continued, "We did out homework. We visited all the Wright home in Iowa and Wisconsin, asking what people liked and disliked in their Wright homes. We decided not to go with radiant heat in the floors."
      The Trier Residence is based on the Usonian Exhibition House that was built in 1953 on the site of The Guggenheim Museum. The Trier Residence was the second home to utilize this floor plan. The first being the Feiman Residence (S.371). The Trier's original floor plan created approximately 1740 square feet of living space, not including the Work Shop. The Living Room occupied thirty percent of the living space. Wright's initial drawing of the home shows that he conceived this home as a Usoniam Automatic, constructed of 12 x 24" concrete blocks. She pointed toward the Living Room wall of doors and perforated light screen window pilasters. "The perforated triangles were originally designed as squares, but we couldn't afford squares." The Triers visited Taliesin to review the working drawings of the home. "Paul watched Wright draw the design of the
perforated panels.
 

He wasn't happy with the first design, so Wright designed a second. All panels were unique to each house," she explained.
      The working drawings specify the home to be constructed of brick. The Triers elected to use brick, and then substituted brick tile, to save construction costs. "We chose to use brick tile because it was cheaper. A mason did all the brick tile work," Ida said. After fifty years, the brick tile still achieved a flawless brick appearance. The 4 x 12" size remained consistent with Wright's original dimensions.
      She reminisced about the furniture. "Paul built all the furniture. Wright designed the Dining Room table 3-4 inches shorter than the standard dining room table to make the ceiling look taller," she explained. "My son rebuilt the chairs when the originals wore out."
      She mentioned that her sight was failing. When asked how she was able to get around in her home, a slight smile appeared on her face and she paused. Her face lit up,  "I know every square inch of this home."
      As a side note, in "Frank Lloyd Wright Monograph 1951  -1959  ", page 230, there is a photograph that contains an
original statue from the City National Bank Building (1909 - S.155) in Mason City, Iowa.
      There are many classic Wright Usonian details. The cantilevered roof extends out over the Entryway. The mortar is tinted, the vertical joints are flush, and the horizontal joints are raked. There are mitered glass corners, a massive fireplace, and clerestory windows that allow natural light into the Living Room. The Living Room's ceiling starts below seven feet and opens up to nearly eleven feet. There are three built-in Planters, an element that grounded Wright homes with the environment. The roof cantilevers out over the Living Room's Terrace. The Living Room's Southern wall of floor to ceiling doors and unique light screen window pilasters open outward, blending interior with exterior. Glass intersects and is imbedded into the brick-tile wall. Windows and doors open outward. Perforated light screen windows, run along the length of the Gallery, allowing natural light. Quoting Paul "A piece of Art."  March 2010.

     
.
  Original Drawing    Floor Plan    Exterior Photographs    Interior Photographs    NY Usonian Exhibition House 
  Light Screens    Usonian Automatic Homes    Related Usonian Items    Bibliography    Wright Studies    Related Items 
 

 

Original Drawing of the Trier Residence
 
Wright initially conceived this home as a Usoniam Automatic, constructed of 12 x 24" concrete blocks. The Triers elected to use brick, and then substituted brick tile, to save construction costs. The brick tile achieves a flawless brick appearance, and the 4 x 12" size is consistent with Wright's original dimensions. Courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
 
Although the Triers elected to use brick, the final home was built to the original floor plan.
 
Detail from original drawing.
 
Concrete block and glass columns were replaced with unique light screen window pilasters, the final home was built to the original floor plan.
 
 
 
TRIER Floor Plan
 
The Trier Residence is based on the Usonian Exhibition House that was built in 1953 on the site of The Guggenheim Museum. Wright's initial drawing of the home shows that he conceived this home as a Usoniam Automatic, constructed of 12 x 24" concrete blocks. The working drawings specify the home to be constructed of brick. The Triers elected to use brick, and then substituted brick tile, to save construction costs. The 4 x 12" size remained consistent with Wright's original dimensions. The original floor plan, designed on a four foot square grid system, created approximately 1740 square feet of living space, 1884 including   the Work Shop. The Living Room occupied thirty percent of the living space. The two smaller bedrooms were originally designed as a single "Children's" bedroom. The Triers chose to split it into two. The smaller at 8 x 12 and the larger at 12 x 12. The Master Bedroom was approximately 14 x 14, not including the Master Bath. According to Storrer, John Ottenheimer and the Taliesin Associated Architects completed construction after Wright's death in 1960, and enclosed the Carport creating a Playroom for the children, as well as additional storage. The roof was extended in front of the Work Shop, forming the existing Car Port.
   
Floor plan Copyright 2010, Douglas M. Steiner.
 
 
 
Exterior Photographs By Douglas M. Steiner, March 2010
     
There are many classic Wright Usonian details. The cantilevered roof extends out over the Entryway. The mortar is tinted, the vertical joints are flush, and the horizontal joints are raked. There are mitered glass corners, a massive fireplace, and clerestory windows that allow natural light into the Living Room. The Living Room's ceiling starts below seven feet and opens up to nearly eleven feet. There are three built-in Planters, an element that grounded Wright homes with the environment. The roof cantilevers out over the Living Room's Terrace. The Living   Room's Southern wall of floor to ceiling doors and unique light screen window pilasters open outward, blending interior with exterior. Glass intersects and is imbedded into the brick-tile wall. Windows and doors open outward. Perforated light screen windows, run along the length of the Gallery, provide privacy, allowing in natural light. Photographed by Douglas M. Steiner on March 15, 2010. Copyright 2020. Set of 46 exterior photographs high res 10 x 13 digital images.
     
1: As you approach the drive, the view of the home is from the Northeast. Classic Usonian elements are prominent. The massive fireplace and clerestory windows of the Living Room are seen on the left. The Entryway is lost in the center. The Carport is on the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -1)
 

2: Wright initially conceived this home as a Usoniam Automatic, constructed of 12 x 24" concrete blocks. The Triers elected to use brick, and then substituted brick tile, to save construction costs. The brick tile achieves a flawless brick look, and the 4 x 12" size is consistent with Wright's original dimensions. (ST#2010.43.0520 -2)
 
3: The Entryway is on the left. Originally it designed with the Carport just to the right of the Entryway (center of photograph), and a Workshop on the right. The Carport was enclosed and converted to a playroom. The area directly in front of the Shop was utilized as a carport, and the roof extended outward. (ST#2010.43.0520 -3)
 
4: Detail of the Carport roof design. (ST#2010.43.0520 -4)
 

5: The clerestory windows of the Living Room are seen on the left. The Entryway is in the center. The Playroom and Carport are on the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -5)
 

6: Detail of the cantilevered roof extending over the Entryway. (ST#2010.43.0520 -6)
 

7: Although 4 x 12" brick tiles were substituted for actual brick, installation was true to Wright's style. The mortar was tinted, the vertical joints were flush, and the horizontal joints were raked. (ST#2010.43.0520 -7)
 

8: View from the North of the Living Room and clerestory windows of the Living Room. The Entryway is to the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -8)
 

9: Detail of the massive fireplace and clerestory windows in the background (upper part of photograph), and exterior wall of the Living Room (lower part of photograph). (ST#2010.43.0520 -9)
 

10: Icicles add a natural design element during winter time. "I wanted a home where icicles by invitation might beautify the eves... icicles came to hang staccato from the eaves." Frank Lloyd Wright, Autobiography, 1943, p. 173. (ST#2010.43.0520 -10)
 

11: The roof intersects the massive fireplace, clerestory windows allow natural light into the Living Room. (ST#2010.43.0520 -11)
 

12: Detail of the roof intersecting the fireplace. The mitered glass dissolves the corner of the Living Room clerestory windows. (ST#2010.43.0520 -12)
 

13: Viewed from the East. Massive fireplace on the left, clerestory windows allow natural light into the Living Room. (ST#2010.43.0520 -13)
 

14: Detail of the Living Room clerestory's mitered glass corner window. (ST#2010.43.0520 -14)
 

15: Viewed from the East. The Living Room ceiling on the right is 6 feet 8 inches and opens up to 10 feet 9 inches on the left. (ST#2010.43.0520 -15)
 

16: One of the home's three built-in Planters is on the left, an element that grounded Wright homes with the environment. The roof cantilevers out over the Living Room's Terrace. (ST#2010.43.0520 -16)
 

17: Viewed from the East. The low wall on the left allows for Terrace level planting, includes a built-in planter and encloses the Terrace. The Living Room looks out to the back yard. (ST#2010.43.0520 -17)
 

18: Detail of the cantilevered roof and perforated light screen window pilasters. (ST#2010.43.0520 -18)
 

19: The Living Room's Southern wall of floor to ceiling doors and decorative light screen window pilasters open outward, blending interior with exterior. (ST#2010.43.0520 -19)
 
20: Not only do the three sets of double floor to ceiling doors open outward but the perforated light screen pilaster windows do as well. (ST#2010.43.0520 -20)
 
21: Glass intersects and is imbedded into the brick-tile wall. (ST#2010.43.0520 -21)
 
22: Floor to ceiling perforated light screen pilaster windows open outward. (ST#2010.43.0520 -22)
 
23: Low wall allows for Terrace level planting, includes a built-in planter and encloses the Terrace. (ST#2010.43.0520 -23)
 
24: Gentle stair inclines lead to the Terrace. (ST#2010.43.0520 -24)
 
25: Viewed from the South. The Living Room floor to ceiling doors and unique perforated light screen pilaster window panels open outward, blending interior with exterior. (ST#2010.43.0520 -25)
 
26: The top portion of the pilaster window panels open independently, allowing ventilation into the Living Room. (ST#2010.43.0520 -26)
 
27: Detail of the pilaster construction. (ST#2010.43.0520 -27)
 
28: Detail of the perforated light screen windows construction. (ST#2010.43.0520 -28)
 
29: Viewed from the Southwest, the Master Bedroom is on the left, Bedrooms and Study in the center, Workspace and Living Room on the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -29)
 
30: The Workspace is on the left, one of the home's three built-in Planters is at window height. The Living Room is in the center, Planter on the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -30)
 
31: Detail of the Planter on the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -31)
 
32: Viewed from the West. The Workspace and window Planter is on the left, the Living Room is on the right. The roof cantilevers out over the Living Room's Terrace. (ST#2010.43.0520 -32)
 
33: Viewed from the East. The roof cantilevers out over the Master Bedroom's Terrace. The Bedrooms and Study are to the left, Workspace and window Planter is on the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -33)
 
34: Windows in the Bedrooms and Study open outward. (ST#2010.43.0520 -34)
 
35: Construction detail of the Bedrooms and Study windows. (ST#2010.43.0520 -35)
 
36: Roof detail. (ST#2010.43.0520 -36)
 
37: A built-in window planter is on the left, Master Bedroom is on the right. Four floor-to-ceiling doors open outward to a small terrace. (ST#2010.43.0520 -37)
 
38: Detail of the Master Bedroom's mitered glass corner window. (ST#2010.43.0520 -38)
 
39: Viewed from the Southwest. A built-in window planter is on the left. The small vertical window on the right allows light into the Master Bath. (ST#2010.43.0520 -39)
 
40: Viewed from the West. The Master Bedroom is on the left, built-in window planter is on the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -40)
 
41: Detail of the Master Bedroom's mitered glass corner window. (ST#2010.43.0520 -41)
 
42: Viewed from the West. Originally designed as a Carport, the enclosed playroom is on the left. The small vertical window left of center allows light into the Bathroom. Perforated light screen windows, which run along the north side of the west wing, provide privacy and allow natural light into the Gallery. (ST#2010.43.0520 -42)
 
43: Viewed from the Northwest. The Living Room's clerestory windows can be seen above the playroom and Bath on the left. The height of the Utility Room and Workspace can be seen in the center above the roof line. The perforated light screen windows, allows natural light into the Gallery on the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -43)
 
44: Detail of the perforated light screen, which allows natural light into the Gallery. (ST#2010.43.0520 -44)
 
45: Viewed from the Northwest. Originally designed as a Carport, the enclosed playroom is on the left. The height of the Utility Room and Workspace can be seen in the center above the roof line. The Gallery is on the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -45)
 
46: Viewed from the Northeast, the Shop is on the left, the Gallery is seen on the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -46)
 
Text and Photographs by Douglas M. Steiner, Copyright 2010
 
 
 
Interior Photographs By Douglas M. Steiner, March 2010
     
The Trier Residence is based on the Usonian Exhibition House (S.369) that was built in 1953 on the site for The Guggenheim Museum. The Trier Residence was the second home to utilize this floor plan. The first being the Feiman Residence (S.371). The Trier's original floor plan created approximately 1740 square feet of living space, not including the Work Shop. The Living Room occupied thirty percent of the living space.
      Classic Usonian elements are prominent in the Trier Residence. Built-in seating and shelving. The Living Room's cantilevered roof extends out over the Terrace. The mortar is tinted, the vertical joints are flush, and the horizontal joints are raked. There are mitered glass corners, a massive fireplace, and clerestory windows that allow natural light into the Living Room. The Living Room's ceiling height starts at 6 feet 8 inches and opens up to 10 feet 9 inches. The Living Room's Southern wall of floor to ceiling doors and unique light screen window pilasters open outward, blending interior with exterior. Glass intersects and is imbedded into the brick-tile wall. Windows and doors
  open outward. Perforated light screen windows run along the length of the Gallery, allowing natural light.
      The Wright designed cantilevered coffee table is a variation of the table first designed in 1939 for his friend Lloyd Lewis (S.265). The original vertical legs extended out two inches and are flush with the top of the table. This Trier version, with its visually minimal legs, gives the appearance that the top is floating, as apposed to being anchored to the legs. The dining area includes built-in shelving and dining room table. Ida reminisced about the furniture. "Paul built all the furniture. Wright designed the Dining Room table 3-4 inches shorter than the standard dining room table to make the ceiling look taller". The dining room table is anchored to the wall. Identical dining chairs were originally designed for the Usonian Exhibition House built in 1953 in New York, on the grounds that were planned for, and would eventually become the Guggenheim Museum. Nine images photographed by Douglas M. Steiner on March 15, 2010. Copyright 2020. Set of 14 interior photographs high res 10 x 13 digital images.
     
1: Classic Usonian elements are prominent in the Trier Residence. Built-in seating and shelving. Clerestory windows allow natural lighting into the Living Room. The massive fireplace opening is 5 foot 4 inches high, 6 foot 2 inches wide. The Living Room ceiling height is 6 feet 8 inches on the left and opens up to 10 feet 9 inches on the right.  (ST#2010.43.0520 -47)
 

2: Detail of the built-in seating and shelving. "Paul built all the furniture", said Ida. (ST#2010.43.0520 -48)
 
3: After fifty years, the brick tile still achieved a flawless brick look. The 4 x 12" size remained consistent with Wright's original dimensions. (ST#2010.43.0520 -49)
 
4: This Wright designed cantilevered coffee table is a variation of the table first designed in 1939 for his friend Lloyd Lewis (S.265) (see 4C below). The original vertical legs extended out two inches and are flush with the top of the table. This Trier version, with its visually minimal legs, gives the appearance that the top is floating, as apposed to being anchored to the legs. Versions can be found in many Wright designed homes (see Blair example below) (ST#2010.43.0520 -50)
 
5: Original coffee table designed for the Paul J. Trier Residence in 1956, was sold in New York in 1986 and became part of the Domino's Pizza Collection. Published in "Frank Lloyd Wright. Preserving an Architectural Heritage", Hanks, 1989, page 112-113. Courtesy Domino's Pizza Collection. Photographed by Gregg Campbell.
Cassina
6: Cassina 623 Lewis Coffee Table. As opposed to the Trier version above, this version appears to anchor the top to the legs. It measures 35 1/2 x 45 1/4 x 16 1/8.
Blair
7: Detail of the Blair (S.351) Living Room Coffee Table. Vertical leg extended out two inches. Horizontal table top and shelf are equal in thickness and size, but sides are cut inward at an angle. (National Registry of Historic Places, March 14, 1989, Photography by Richard Collier.)
 

8: The massive fireplace opening is 5 foot 4 inches high, 6 foot 2 inches wide. The front left corner cantilevers out into the Living Room. (ST#2010.43.0520 -51)
 

9: Detail of the built-in fireplace ledge. (ST#2010.43.0520 -52)
 

10: Dining area includes built-in shelving and dining room table. Ida reminisced about the furniture. "Paul built all the furniture. Wright designed the Dining Room table 3-4 inches shorter than the standard dining room table to make the ceiling look taller". Work Space can be seen in the background through the opening. The Entryway is to the right. (ST#2010.43.0520 -53)
 

11: The dining room table is anchored to the wall. Identical dining chairs were originally designed for the Usonian Exhibition House built in 1953 in New York, on the grounds that were purchased for, and would eventually be the Guggenheim Museum. See additional information about the Usonian Exhibition House. (ST#2010.43.0520 -54)
 

12: The perforated geometric panel was originally constructed of laminated birch. (ST#2010.43.0520 -55)
 
13: Original dining chair designed for the Paul J. Trier Residence in 1956, was sold in New York in 1986 and became part of the Domino's Pizza Collection. Published in "Frank Lloyd Wright. Preserving an Architectural Heritage", Hanks, 1989, page 112-113. Courtesy Domino's Pizza Collection. Photographed by Gregg Campbell.
 
14: Usonian Exhibition Dining Chair, 1953. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Usonian Exhibition House exhibited in "Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright", at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum exhibition grounds, New York, 22 October - 29 November 1953. For the retrospective of Frank Lloyd Wright's work in 1953, Wright built a fully furnished ''Usonian House'' and pavilion in the museum gardens. The house was described in a New York Times article as a ''fusion of architecture and furnishings, the blending of indoors and out.'' These two chairs were designed and built specifically for the exhibition house. Wright later used the same model for the Trier Residence, Iowa, 1956. Oak plywood, 37 inches high. Manufactured by Plycraft Products. (Sotheby's description. Sale date December 2003. Sold for $24,000 each plus buyer's premium.) (See Usonian Exhibition House)
 
Text and Photographs by Douglas M. Steiner, unless otherwise noted, Copyright 2010
 
 
 
The 1953 New York Usonian Exhibition House (S.369)
and The 1956 Trier Residence
     
The Trier Residence is based on the Usonian Exhibition House (S.369) that was built in 1953 on the site for The Guggenheim Museum. The Trier Residence was the second home to utilize this floor plan. The first being the Feiman Residence (S.371). Wright's initial drawing of the home shows that he conceived the Trier Residence as a Usoniam Automatic, constructed of 12 x 24" concrete blocks. The working drawings specify the home to be constructed of brick. The Triers elected to use brick, and then substituted brick tile, to save construction costs. The 4 x 12" size remained consistent with Wright's original dimensions. The Trier's original floor plan created approximately 1740 square feet of living space, not including the Work Shop. The Living Room occupied thirty percent of the living space.
      The complex on the grounds that would eventually become the Guggenheim Museum consisted of two structures. The New York Usonian Exhibition House (S.369) and the Pavilion (S.370), both seen on the cover of the catalog below. "Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright", was a traveling exhibition of Wright's work, consisting of Models, photographs and original drawings. A Preview of the exhibition was held in Philadelphia (January 1951). The world wide tour opened in Palazzo Strozzi Florence, Italy (June 1951). In "Sixty Years" (New York), Wright notes that from Florence the Exhibition traveled to "Switzerland, France, German and Holland". The Exhibition catalogs are dated: Paris (April 1952),  Zurich (End of May 1952), Munich (May 16 - June 15, 1952), and Rotterdam (dated June 1, 1952). After two years in Europe the exhibition crossed the
  Atlantic to Mexico City, then to New York (1953). After an exhibition in Los Angeles (1954) Wright indicates (LA) that the Exhibition was headed to the Orient. Manila, Tokyo and New Delhi in 1955. Note: We found no evidence that the Orient exhibitions took place. In "FLW, His Life, His Work, His Words", 1966, pp. 219-220, Mrs. Wright indicates that after the Exhibition in LA, "...it returned to Taliesin". Also of interest is the booklet that was published for the Exhibition held in Chicago. Included in the title of the booklet is "Series Nine Chicago". When you count the number of exhibitions, eliminating the Orient, Chicago is number nine. 1) Florence  2) Switzerland  3) France  4) German  5) Holland  6) Mexico City  7) New York  8) Los Angeles  9) Chicago. The exhibition catalog is dated October 16, 17, 18, 1956. Mayor Daley proclaimed October 17, Frank Lloyd Wright Day.
      The New York House and Pavilion were constructed at the same time. The exhibition was held from October 22 - November 29, 1953. Two booklets were produced. One for the House (below) and one for the Exhibition. The exhibition included a fully furnished 1,700 sq. ft. ''Usonian House''. Wright used the same design for the dining chair in other homes including Trier Residence. On occasion, furniture from the exhibition are offered at auction houses.
      After the exhibition in New York, the house was auctioned off. The buyer contracted polio and was unable to reconstruct the home. In 1984, after sitting in storage for 30 years, it was put up for auction again. Tom Monaghan won the bid at $117,000. Plans were made to reconstruct the home, but time had taken its toll. Parts were eventually auctioned off again in 1992.
     

The Usonian Exhibition House floor plan created approximately 1,700 square feet of living space.

 

The Trier's original floor plan created approximately 1,740 square feet of living space, not including the Work Shop. The Living Room occupied thirty percent of the living space. The Trier Residence Living Room was reduced, and the Bedroom Wing enlarged, allowing the addition of a Study. (See full Floor Plan.)

NY
1: The complex on the grounds that would eventually become the Guggenheim Museum consisted of two structures. The New York Usonian Exhibition House (left, S.369) and the Pavilion (right S.370). The New York House and Pavilion were constructed at the same time. The exhibition was held from October 22 - November 29, 1953. Two booklets were produced. This one for the House (above) and one for the Exhibition. (Published by The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.)
 
2: Classic Usonian elements were prominent in the New York Usonian Exhibition House. Built-in seating and shelving. Clerestory windows allowed natural lighting into the Living Room. The Living Room ceiling height was approximately 7 feet on the left and opens up to 12 feet on the right. (Photographed by Ezra Stoller.)
 
3: The Trier Residence followed the same floor plan as the Exhibition House, with minor changes. The Living Room ceiling height was reduced from 12 feet to 10 feet 9 inches on the right. While the Fireplace design was very similar, it was moved to the left, and the opening was much higher. The Trier Residence Living Room was reduced, and the Bedroom Wing enlarged, allowing the addition of a Study.
 
4: New York Usonian Exhibition House and Pavilion opening reception, October 22,1953. See additional photographs. (Photographed by Pedro Guerrero.)
 
5: New York Usonian Exhibition House and Pavilion opening reception, October 22,1953. See additional photographs. (Photographed by Pedro Guerrero.)
 
6: The Living Room's wall of floor to ceiling doors and windows open outward, blending interior with exterior. The Dining area is on the right. (Photographed by Ezra Stoller.)
 

 

7: Viewed from the Terrace into the Dining area and Living Room. Sets of 12 foot doors open outward and extend to the full height of the Living Room. The cantilevered roof overhang is richly patterned with ornamental dentil bands. (Photographed by Ezra Stoller.)
 
8: Not only do the three sets of double floor to ceiling doors open outward but the decorative light screen pilaster  windows do as well. Glass intersects and is imbedded into the brick-tile wall.
 
9: Fireplace is is on the far left, Terrace, Dining area and Work Space in the center, and Entry to the far right. The brick is a deep red, and is complimented by a patterned ceiling of red oak plywood. The Dining table and chairs were designed and built specifically for this exhibition house. (Photographed by Ezra Stoller.)
 

10: The Trier's Dining area includes built-in shelving and dining room table. Ida reminisced about the furniture. "Paul built all the furniture. Wright designed the Dining Room table 3-4 inches shorter than the standard dining room table to make the ceiling look taller". Work Space can be seen in the background through the opening. The Entryway is to the right.
 
11: Usonian Exhibition Dining Chair, 1953. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Usonian Exhibition House exhibited in "Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright", at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum exhibition grounds, New York, 22 October - 29 November 1953. For the retrospective of Frank Lloyd Wright's work in 1953, Wright built a fully furnished ''Usonian House'' and pavilion in the museum gardens. The house was described in a New York Times article as a ''fusion of architecture and furnishings, the blending of indoors and out.'' These two chairs were designed and built specifically for the exhibition house. Wright later used the same model for the Trier Residence, Iowa, 1956. Oak plywood, 37 inches high. Manufactured by Plycraft Products. (Sotheby's description. Sale date December 2003. Sold for $24,000 each plus buyer's premium.)
 
12: Original dining chair designed for the Paul J. Trier Residence in 1956, was sold in New York in 1986 and became part of the Domino's Pizza Collection. Published in "Frank Lloyd Wright. Preserving an Architectural Heritage", Hanks, 1989, page 112-113. Courtesy Domino's Pizza Collection. (Photographed by Gregg Campbell.)
 
Text and Photographs by Douglas M. Steiner, unless otherwise noted, Copyright 2010
 
 
 
Light Screens
 
Wright's initial drawing of the home shows that he conceived this home as a Usoniam Automatic, constructed of 12 x 24" concrete blocks. The Triers visited Taliesin to review the working drawings of the home. "Paul watched Wright draw the design of the perforated panels. He wasn't happy with the first design, so Wright designed a second. All panels were unique to each house," she explained. Ida pointed toward the Living Room wall of doors and perforated light screen window pilasters. "The perforated triangles were   originally designed as squares, but we couldn't afford squares." Not only do the three sets of double floor to ceiling doors in the Living Room's Southern wall open outward, but the decorative light screen window pilasters do as well, blending interior with exterior.  The top portion of the pilaster window panels open independently, allowing ventilation into the Living Room. Perforated light screens, which run along the north side of the bedroom wing, provide privacy and allow natural light into the Gallery.
     
Perforated light screens, which run along the north side of the bedroom wing, provide privacy and allow natural light into the Gallery.
 
Top

Bottom

The Living Room's Southern wall of doors and decorative light screen window pilasters open outward, blending interior with exterior. The top portion of the pilaster window panels open independently, allowing ventilation into the Living Room.
 
 

1: Viewed from the East. The low wall on the left allows for Terrace level planting, includes a built-in planter and encloses the Terrace. The Living Room looks out to the back yard. 
 

2: Detail of the cantilevered roof and perforated light screen window pilasters.
 

3: The Living Room's Southern wall of floor to ceiling doors and decorative light screen window pilasters open outward, blending interior with exterior.
 
4: Not only do the three sets of double floor to ceiling doors open outward but the perforated light screen pilaster windows do as well.
 
5: Floor to ceiling perforated light screen pilaster windows open outward. Glass intersects and is imbedded into the brick-tile wall.
 
6: Viewed from the South. The Living Room floor to ceiling doors and unique perforated light screen pilaster window panels open outward, blending interior with exterior.
 
7: The top portion of the pilaster window panels open independently, allowing ventilation into the Living Room.
 
8: Detail of the pilaster construction.
 
9: Detail of the perforated light screen windows construction.
 
10: The Workspace is on the left, one of the home's three built-in Planters is at window height. The Living Room is in the center, Planter on the right.
 
11: Viewed from the West. The Workspace and window Planter is on the left, the Living Room is on the right. The roof cantilevers out over the Living Room's Terrace.
 
1: Perforated light screens, which run along the north side of the bedroom wing, provide privacy and allow natural light into the Gallery.
 
2: Viewed from the West. Originally designed as a Carport, the enclosed playroom is on the left. The small vertical window left of center allows light into the Bathroom. Perforated light screen windows, which run along the north side of the west wing, provide privacy and allow natural light into the Gallery.
 
3: Viewed from the Northwest. The Living Room's clerestory windows can be seen above the playroom and Bath on the left. The height of the Utility Room and Workspace can be seen in the center above the roof line. The perforated light screen windows, allows natural light into the Gallery on the right.
 
4: Detail of the perforated light screen, which allows natural light into the Gallery.
 
5: Viewed from the Northeast, the Shop is on the left, the Gallery is seen on the right.
 
Text and Illustrations by Douglas M. Steiner, Copyright 2010
 
 
 
Usonian Automatic Homes (Built)
 
 
 
 
Related Items From the Usonian Automatic Traveling Exhibit
 
Books, Brochures, PR, Articles
 
 
 
BIBLIOGRAPHY
 
"An Autobiography", Wright, 1932, page 176.
"Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright", Traveling Exhibition, 1951-1956.
“Sixty years of Living Architecture”, Architectural Forum, January, 1951, pages 73-108.
“Sixty years of Living Architecture”, Architectural Forum Offset, January, 1951, pages 73-108.
"Frank Lloyd Wright: Sixty Years of Living Architecture" Book Review, Arch. Forum, Dec., 1952, pages 158, 166.
"Frank Lloyd Wright exhibits 60 years’ work", Architectural Forum, October, 1953, page 45.
"Wright Makes New York, Sixty Years of Living Architecture Exhibit", Arch. Record, Oct., 1953, page 20.
"Review of Exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum, Oct 9 - Nov 15, 1953", Art News, October, 1953, page 44.
“Sixty Years of Living Architecture. Work of Frank Lloyd Wright". Arch. Forum, Nov., 1953, pages 152-155.
"Sixty Years of Living Architecture", House & Home - November, 1953, pages 118-121.
"The Natural House", Wright, 1954, pages 115-125
"Frank Lloyd Wright Day proclaimed in Chicago", Architectural Forum, November 1956, page 21.
"Frank Lloyd Wright, His Life, His Work, His Words", Wright, 1966, pp. 219-220.
"Frank Lloyd Wright 1869 - 1969", Northwest Architect, July-August 1969, page 49.
"Living with Wright: Ida Trier, Johnston, Iowa", Midwest Living, June 1987, Pp 101-105.
"Related items from the Usonian Automatic Traveling Exhibition" 1987 - 1990.
"Frank Lloyd Wright: Preserving an Architectural Heritage, Domino’s Collect", Hanks, 1989, pages 112-113.
"Frank Lloyd Wright Monograph 1951 -1959", Text: Pfeiffer, Bruce Brooks;
Edited and Photographed: Futagawa, Yukio, 1990, pages 229-230.
"The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion", Storrer, 1993, page 427.
"Picturing Wright", Guerrero, 1994, pages 136-141, 144-155.
"Lost Wright", Lind, 1996, Pp 148-149, 156-159.
"Frank Lloyd Wright: Cassina I Maestri", 1997, page 43.
"Bexley Heath Ltd.: Spring 1997", page 5.
"Frank Lloyd Wright’s House Beautiful", Maddex, 2000, Pages 162-163.
"Interior Style & Design", Ehrlich, 2003, pages 69, 126.
"Wright-Sized Houses", Maddex, Diane, 2003, pages 50-51, 60, 134.
"Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful. Designing an American Way", Boyd; Pfeiff, 2005, pages 66-67, 79.
"Frank Lloyd Wright in New York. The Plaza Years, 1954-1959", Hession; Pickrel, 2007, pages 99-101.
"Frank Lloyd Wright, Complete Works 1943-1959", Pfeiffer; Gossel, 2009, page 475.
"Wright Study: Usonian Automatic Homes", Steiner, 2009
 
 
 
Additional Wright Studies
 
SEE ADDITIONAL WRIGHT STUDIES
 
Frank Lloyd Wright's First Published Article (1898)
 
Photographic Chronology of Frank Lloyd Wright Portraits
 
"Frank Lloyd Wright's Nakoma Clubhouse & Sculptures."
A comprehensive study of Wright’s Nakoma Clubhouse
and the Nakoma and Nakomis Sculptures. Now Available.
Limited Edition.
More information.
 
Text copyright Douglas M. Steiner, Copyright 2014, 2020.
 
 
 
Paul and Ida Trier Residence, Johnston, Iowa (1956 - S.398)
   
Date: 1958-59

Title: Paul and Ida Trier Residence, Johnston, Iowa, 1958-59 (1956 - S.398).

Description: Viewed from the Southwest. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1956. The Trier Residence is based on the Usonian Exhibition House that was built in 1953 on the site of The Guggenheim Museum. The Trier Residence was the second home to utilize this floor plan. The first being the Feiman Residence (S.371). The Trier's original floor plan created approximately 1740 square feet of living space, not including the Work Shop. The Living Room occupied thirty percent of the living space. Wright's initial drawing of the home shows that he conceived this home as a Usonian Automatic, constructed of 12 x 24" concrete blocks. Mounted to gray board. Label pasted to board: "West 20, US Arch. Wright, Frank Lloyd. Des Moines, IA. Dr. Paul Trier Res. 1958-59. Side Facade. Andrews Photo 2751." Photographed by Wayne Andrews. Acquired from the archives of the University of Minnesota.

Size: Original 10 x 8 B&W Photograph.

S#:
1259.73.0420
   
Date: 2010

Title: Paul and Ida Trier Residence, Johnston, Iowa, 2010 (1956 - S.398).

Description: Set of 46 exterior and 9 interior photographs of the Trier Residence. The average temperature in early March hovers around freezing in central Iowa. Our stop in Johnston, Iowa, just north of Des Moines was no different. On a trip from Chicago to Seattle with my daughter, we had the opportunity to visit with Ida Trier and see the home that has been her residence for over fifty years. Icicles hung from the eaves, creating natural designs. "I wanted a home where icicles by invitation might beautify the eves... icicles came to hang staccato from the eaves." wrote Frank Lloyd Wright, in his Autobiography. We timidly knocked on the door, wanting to photograph the exterior of the home. Ida Trier answered and graciously invited us to view the Living Room. Images came flooding back of my visit... Continue...

Size: Set of 46 exterior and 9 interior high res 10 x 13 digital images.

ST#: 2010.43.0520 (1-55)
   

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  Text copyright Douglas M. Steiner, Copyright 2014, 2020.
   
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