Architectural Drawings: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spectacular “Seacliff” Residence

Wright’s unbuilt design is an exuberant demonstration of Modernism perched on the edge of a cliff.

Paul Keskeys Paul Keskeys

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When it comes to architecture that might have been, it is perhaps unsurprising that one of the most fascinating examples comes from the hand of one of the profession’s true pioneers: Frank Lloyd Wright. As well as completing some of the most iconic residential designs of the 20th century, the American architect conceived several more that never came to pass, and Morris House — otherwise known as “Seacliff” — must go down as one of the most spectacular.

Via Richmond District Blog

Back in 1945, Wright was approached by the Morris family to design a new home on a rocky outcrop at the mouth of San Francisco Bay. Having experienced great success designing a residence for the Kaufman family — the seminal Fallingwater — 10 years previously, Wright desired to continue his explorations into the relationship between manmade structures and the natural landscape. The resulting proposal was nothing short of astonishing, an exuberant demonstration of Modernism perched on the edge of the cliff.

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Working from Wright’s original drawings, the property was visualized more recently by multiple digital artists, offering up a tantalizing vision of a building that might have stood alongside Fallingwater as Wright’s finest residential work. As the Richmond District Blog reports, the slender, curved structure overlooking the water is reminiscent of a modern lighthouse, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the Pacific coastline.

Via Solo’s Art

Via Cornucopia3D

In an article exploring a number of Wright’s unbuilt designs, writer Hector Fernando Burga offered further insight: “In his rendering for the Morris House, Wright continues to link built forms with their natural environments through a careful consideration of topography … The building’s location defines its dynamic composition. Wright introduces curved windows to provide expanded waterfront views and allows local vegetation to adorn the roofs and balconies. Like Fallingwater, the building is a stylized extension of the surrounding landscape.”

Via San Martin Arts & Crafts

For more on Frank Lloyd Wright, check out our in-depth exploration of the utopian principles behind the architect’s design of Usonia, and peruse 10 famous quotes that typify his outspoken ideals.

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Top image via Solo’s Art

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