Louis Marden Residence (1952)

McLean, Virginia
HW #30

When the president of AOL, Jim Kinsey, purchased the large property overlooking the Potomac River, the house came as a nice surprise. He originally had plans to destroy it, but when he found out of its value, he kept it to entertain guests as it sits beside the beautiful mansion. Wright had originally wanted the gorgeous site for his son but Louis Marden, photographer of National Geographic had snatched it first and would not budge. As a result, he built the house in the identical hemicycle that he used for the Llewellyn house. The house had obviously been furnished with modern furnishings and equipment, but the initial polished concrete floors, wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, the concrete blocks, and the laminated wood ceiling all combine to create a feeling that is extremely open and ahead of its time. The wall of windows faces the incredible cliffs and the river down below, and opens up to the bottom floor balcony. The living room space is visually separated from the viewing space (photo above) using the raise in the ceiling height and the wooden cabinets placed at the mid point. However, in contrast to Llewellyn’s hemicycle visited later, the entire hemicycle does not provide visual separations of individual sections, rather, a free-flowing, open space. The house has one master bedroom and one small bedroom located in the concrete-block basement, which is quite a different atmosphere; cool and solitary; than the master bedroom which is large, light-filled and lush from the color of concrete and wood.