This Frank Lloyd Wright Home Was Deconstructed In Minnesota And Rebuilt In Pennsylvania

published Jun 14, 2019
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Credit: Photo by Patrick J. Mahoney, courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy
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The aesthetic that Frank Lloyd Wright’s innovative architecture evokes is a pleasing one. It speaks to tasteful design that stands out immediately from the rest without compromising its function.

But no amount of Wright adoration had us ready for the news that his Minnesota Mäntylä house, also known as the Lindholm house, would be dismantled and moved in its entirety to Pennsylvania. His creations are beautiful, but who could want and afford one so badly that they’d move it across the country like that?

As it turns out, the move wasn’t due to some private buyer eager to make the near-impossible possible. Instead, the landscape surrounding the house in Minnesota had been rapidly changing. The house was built on secluded North Woods land, but commercial development has been encroaching on its territory steadily over the years. As the neighborhood vibe went from woodsy to noisy commercial zone, the home’s owners—Peter McKinney and his wife, Julene—thought about selling.

They worked with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy to brainstorm ways to ensure the longevity of the home, which led to them eventually putting the house on the market. The goal was to find a buyer who could afford it, keep it on its original site, and take care of it the way a Wright structure requires.

After no suitable offers were received, the owners made a decision: they would donate the house to the Usonian Preservation in Acme, Pennsylvania.

Barbara Gordon, the executive director for the Conservancy, said that the Conservancy is usually not in favor of moving a Wright house. The exceptions are when demolition is imminent or when the site becomes so changed that the structure’s value and artistic intent is compromised. As for the Mäntylä house, the latter was the case.

It was deconstructed over three years ago and reconstruction on the new Pennsylvania land was completed this past April. And we have to say, it looks stunning. We didn’t know a full house de- and reconstruction could work so well. Check out photos of the refreshed house and read more about the process here.