How far would you go to save a Frank Lloyd Wright house? If you're die-hard Wright fan and architect Paolo Bulletti, you'd go as far as buying the endangered structure and having it relocated to a safer locale---in this case, the quaint hillside town of Fiesole, just outside of Florence. According to a NYTimes report, Bulletti wants to purchase Wright's 1954 Bachman Wilson House in Millstone, New Jersey, dismantle it and then ship it to Italy.
Bulletti's desperate---admit it, that's what it is---idea was borne out of the hope of preserving the house---one of the Usonian types Wright developed and hoped to market as low-cost housing solutions. The home's current owners, Lauwrence and Sharon Tarantino, were worried that concrete-and-wood house structure would sooner or later fall prey to the flooding of the Millstone River. They sought out Bulletti's consultation after seeing that he had curated a Wright exhibition in Fiesole, where the famed architect escaped to with his mistress in 1910. The couple traveled to the town, where they met up with Bulletti and hatched the crazy plan "under the trees of the piazza."
The plan, which is more movie heist than simple preservation scheme, involves some problems, namely the $1.5 million costs for dismantling and shipping. That estimate would not cover the sum needed to rebuild the house in Fiesole, and given the present economic climate in Italy, seeking funds from the local government might prove unfruitful. Bulletti says they have yet to price the reconstruction costs, but promises that once that have been calculated, he will begin searching for companies that might be kickstart the project. A second hiccup is Fiesole's building code, which seem ill-equipped to handle Wright's oblong-shaped, low-lying design. If rebuilt, the house would not pass Fiesole's strict housing laws, and would thus be unfit for inhabitants. Bulletti offers an alternative: "it can be erected in protected land, a park or a garden as if it were a sculpture."
Read more about the story over at the Times site.
The Bachman Wilson House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; Photo: Tarantino Studio