Gloria Bachman and Abraham Wilson Residence (1954)

Millstone, New Jersey
HW #22

A few Frank Lloyd Wright home owners had led us to the Bachman Wilson Residence, the home and office of Tarantino Architects, who specialize in FLW restoration work and design. Unlike many other FLW homes that we had seen, the building was kept in pristine condition, restored to what was close to the original. The restoration included the roof, balconies, Phillipine Mohagony board-and-batten, masonry walls, and the concrete terrace. Interior work included restoration of the red, concrete floor, wood, furniture, and lighting. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd flooded the kitchen, giving the architects an opportunity to restore the kitchen to the unrealized, original design. The house was then carefully dismantled, wrapped, and moved to its current location.

Upon our visit, we were given a brief tour by an enthusiastic intern. On the north-west street façade of the building is a Way-lite concrete masonry wall, providing privacy and protection from the public. The living room is a dramatic two storey space with wall of 10 foot glass panes that open up the living space by engaging the interior with the exterior surrounding. The perforated wooden clerestory panels are a unique element of the design, providing light patterns that pass through the living room space, constantly changing depending on the time of day and season. The living room is a dynamic space that serves a variety of functions. The built in couch is aligned with the northern wall, facing the open space. The open plan allows for a nice flow from the dining room to the living room, its only suggestion for separation being the cantilevered Philippine Mahogany balcony overlooking the double storey living space. The balcony cantilevers off the double storey concrete mass, which shapes the L-shape plan and is the visible center of the structure. Because the Way-Lite concrete blocks are used as the masonry structure and the Philippine Mahogany trim used as the cantilevered portions of the building, the building can be imagined without either the wood or the concrete.

In this video, Tarantino architects talk about the dismantling process.