Should Preservationists Have a Say in What You Can Do with Your Home?

What if you bought a house that was built by the venerable architect Frank Lloyd Wright? And what if you didn't know that when you bought it (and made plans to tear it down)? Would you care? Would you try to preserve it, or move forward with your original plans for demolition regardless?

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These are some of the questions at the forefront of the debate on the impending destruction of the David Wright House, a home built by architect Frank Lloyd Wright for his son in 1952. Yesterday, The New York Times ran their most recent article on the subject, Buyers of a Wright Home in Phoenix Reconsider a Deal 'Too Good to Be True'. In it, they describe how the home's current owners bought the house without knowing that it was built by Wright, and how they intended from the beginning to level it completely, divide the lot in half, build two luxury homes, and make a tidy bundle in the process.

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The city initially granted the new owners permission to split the lot. But preservationists have since stepped in, and are now trying to gain landmark status for the home. Permission to divide the property has been rescinded, and a landmark designation hearing is pending.

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The house was sold to the previous owners by the architect's granddaughters, and while outrage against plans to demolish this important work are clearly justified (it's the only residential project by Wright to mirror the circular layout of the Guggenheim), shouldn't the buyers have been notified of its pedigree? And why weren't preservationists aware of its landmark potential before now?

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The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has started a petition to save the house. But I'm curious — what are your thoughts on the situation? Do you think the new owners should be allowed to do what they want with their home? What would you do if it were yours?

Read More: The New York Times

(Images: 1, 2, 4. Colin Edward Slais, Architect, 3.Valley Girl, 5. Save the Wright House)