A boy asked Frank Lloyd Wright to design him a dog house – and he did | Features
famous american architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed iconic buildings like the Fallingwater House in Pennsylvania and the Guggenheim Museum in New York – and he also designed a doghouse for a 12-year-old boy who sent him a letter.
Jim Berger grew up in a home in San Anselmo, California that his parents commissioned Wright to design, according to Marin County. In 1956, when Berger was 12, he sent a letter to Wright asking for plans for a matching dog house for his Labrador retriever, Eddie.
“I would appreciate if you could design me a dog house, which would be easy to build, but would go with our house,” Berger wrote in the letter. “The reason I would want this doghouse is primarily for winters.”
He gave Eddie’s age, “four or in dog’s life 28”, and his height, “two and a half feet tall and three feet long”.
He offered to pay the architect for the design with money from his paper itinerary.
“A house for Eddie is an opportunity,” Wright wrote in his response dated June 28, 1956. “Someday I will design one, but at this time I am too busy to concentrate on it. You write to me in November next in Phoenix, Arizona and I might have something then.”
It was not until the following year that the architect sent Berger the plans for the triangular niche, written on the back of an envelope and provided free of charge. The design features signatures of Wright’s work in general and of the Bergers’ home, such as the low-pitched roof and exaggerated overhang.
Architecture buffs can see the niche for themselves at the Marin County Civic Center, where it went on permanent display May 26. depending on the county. The Civic Center itself is the largest building ever designed by Wright.
The niche on display, however, is not the niche used by Eddie. Berger’s father, Robert, and brother, Eric, built the doghouse in 1963 when Berger joined the army, six years after receiving Wright’s plans. But the family Labrador didn’t use the kennel, and in 1970 Berger’s mother, Gloria, sent him to the dump, according to the county.
In 2010, Berger and Eric built another version of the doghouse from Wright’s plans as part of a documentary, “Romanza”, about Wright’s life. And in 2016, Berger donated the unique structure to Marin County.
The niche is the smallest structure Wright has ever designed, according to the county. The architect died in 1959, just two years after sending Berger the design of his canine companion.
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