If you’ve already completed Fallingwater, the Guggenheim, and the Robie House LEGO Architecture sets, you may be ready for a bigger undertaking. One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian Houses in Ohio, the Louis Penfield House, is available for sale, in a package that includes an incredible opportunity to bring an important piece of Wright’s legacy to life. There are 2 parcels, one on 18.45 acres, with the historic, lovingly restored Penfield house and two other residential buildings. The other parcel, on 10.67 acres, features the original site for Wright’s planned “Riverrock”. The house was never built, for when Wright died in 1959, the plans were still on his drawing table.
The official recorded name of this project is “Taliesin 5909”, and is therefore Frank Lloyd Wright’s final design. The week of Wright’s funeral, the plans arrived by mail to Louis Penfield, and the family has retained the plans and the site ever since. The historical provenance of the authenticity of these plans is supported by his indisputable relationship with the family, having designed their residence several years before. This is the only un-built Wright project with such an established relationship between the architect and the family, and where the original client has retained the plans and the chosen site.
Louis Penfield dubbed the project “Riverrock to pay homage to Wright’s desire to source the materials from the surrounding land. The original plan was to use rocks from the adjacent Chagrin River to construct the home.
Should you buy the property, you will not be alone in your endeavor to complete Riverrock. The not-for-profit Riverrock House Corporation, started by Paul Penfield, has a 3 phase plan to restore the Penfield house, raise money to construct the Riverrock House, and eventually establish the property as a center for innovative, naturally sustainable design. In the meantime, the Penfield house can continue generating some income with it’s overnight rentals, and once Riverrock is complete, it would be available for a similar attraction. The corporation is continuing to raise money for what will be an estimated $1.8-2 million construction. Should this center be built, it would bring increased tourism to the Willoughby, OH area, and is therefore supported by many local organizations.
Frank Lloyd Wright hand-picked the poplar sapling planted next to where the home would be built. As Wright’s legacy has grown, so has the poplar tree, and now it needs his final design to complete the picture.