In 1953 Gloria and Abraham Wilson wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright to commission a home.
Gloria's brother, Marvin Bachman, had been one of Wright's apprentices, and the couple hoped that using both their last names might help them secure the commission.
Their home, designed on the Usonian model, was built in 1954 on a site in New Jersey the couple chose specifically for the building. As in many Usonian homes, the side of the house facing the street offers few windows, giving privacy to the inhabitants. The back side is a sweeping wall of glass, inviting the surrounding landscape into the home.
"Would you design a home for us?"
In 1988 the architect and design team Lawrence and Sha[r]on Tarantino bought the Bachman-Wilson House with the intention of restoring it to its original glory after several floods had damaged the riverside structure. The Tarantinos painstakingly restored the home, but the flooding and damage continued.
In 2013, after watching a CBS Sunday Morning feature about Crystal Bridges, the Tarantinos contacted the Museum with the hope that Crystal Bridges would be interested in acquiring the house and moving it to safer ground so it could be preserved
and enjoyed by future generations. Crystal Bridges took on the role of the house's steward and, guided by the Tarantinos, developed a detailed relocation plan.
The entire structure was taken apart and each component was labeled, packed, and loaded into two tractor trailers. After its 1,235 mile journey, the Bachman-Wilson House arrived in Northwest Arkansas in April, 2014.
The most challenging part of the reconstruction of the house was discerning exactly how to fit all of the components together as they had been originally. Wright's Usonian homes were designed to be constructed by third-party contractors with the assistance of a Taliesin Fellow, as the Bachman-Wilson House had been.
The team at Crystal Bridges had Wright's original plans to follow, but the rebuilding was complicated by adjustments that had been made by the original builders, as well as changes due to subsequent restoration. As the puzzle pieces began to fall into place, the house started to emerge out of the forest, and now a little piece of Frank Lloyd Wright resides here in Arkansas.
Transportation of the Bachman-Wilson House from Millstone, New Jersey to Bentonville, Arkansas was generously provided by JB Hunt Transport.
In its current location, the windows at the back offer a view of Crystal Spring Pond, much as they would have provided a vista onto the Millstone River in New Jersey.
Welcome Pavilion: Inspiring The Next Generation of Architects
The Frank Lloyd Wright House Welcome Pavilion was designed and fabricated as part of a collaboration between the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Fifth-year architecture students designed the structure, inspired by the dialog on the site between the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and that of Crystal Bridges' architect, Moshe Safdie. A place for guests to learn about Frank Lloyd Wright and the story of the Bachman-Wright House, the pavilion is constructed of wood, metal, glass, and plastic.
The students' honest use of materials connects the design of the pavilion to the principles utilized by Wright in the Bachman-Wilson House. Wright believed in demonstrating how a building was constructed through the exposure of its structure, which was made possible by his choice of materials. The students designed the pavilion in the same way, exposing the structure and choosing materials that would achieve the needs of the building while complementing the desired aesthetic.