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Accessible Frank Lloyd Wright House To Make Public Debut

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The Kenneth & Phyllis Laurent House, a one-of-a-kind accessible home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, will open to the public in June. (Laurent House Foundation)

The Kenneth & Phyllis Laurent House, a one-of-a-kind accessible home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, will open to the public in June. (Laurent House Foundation)

The only fully-accessible home ever designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright is set to open to the public as a museum.

The Kenneth & Phyllis Laurent House in Rockford, Ill. will open June 6, just days ahead of what would have been Wright’s 147th birthday.

Wright was commissioned in the late 1940s to conceive the one-of-a-kind home for Kenneth Laurent who experienced a spinal cord injury in World War II that left the lower half of his body paralyzed.

Decades before the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, the home was designed to be appreciated aesthetically from a seated position and included switches, built-in desks as well as other features and furnishings, all accommodating an individual in a wheelchair.

Laurent and his wife Phyllis lived in the home from 1952 until early 2012 when local preservationists acquired the residence and its original furnishings designed by Wright at auction.

The home was added to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

“The building is unique in that it has been continually occupied by the original owners, and contains not only furnishings designed by the architect, but many personal items of the owners. In other words, it is a complete work of art,” said restoration architect John Eifler of Eifler & Associates Architects who worked with the Laurent House Foundation to restore the home and prepare it for public viewings.

Starting in June, tours will be held regularly during the first and last weekend of each month and by appointment, the foundation said.

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Comments (10 Responses)

  1. Paula says:

    It’s a wonderful story and glad it is being re-introduced to the public! Truly a National treasure in so many ways

  2. Jon K. Evans says:

    I would like to see this house. It is a model for how all persons with disabilities should be treated.

  3. marie camp says:

    Mr. Wright was an awesome designer. He was way modern before his time. One of his student designed the house I grew up in. I am very glad this exhibit is finally opening to the public.

  4. Roberta Sherwood says:

    Could this same design be replicated elsewhere, or are there patents, etc, to prevent that?

  5. Carolyn Thompson says:

    Beautiful, and I am so glad this accessible residence is being made available for public viewing.

  6. Fred Mahler (Mahler Constr. Co.) says:

    Had the pleasure to work on Mr. Wrights Home and Studio in Oak Park, Illinois. Have since then worked on many Frank Lloyd Wright homes. Mr Wright’s vision was way ahead of it’s time.
    I am glad that this house in Rockford is becoming a fully accessible public museum.

  7. Shelley says:

    FLW has been a favorite of mine forever!!! Having grown up in Rockford and still living just a stones throw away I can’t wait to see it!!!!

  8. Maureen Senior says:

    What a wonderful opportunity to see how accessibility could be used as standard

  9. David Snow says:

    Would love to visit this home as well.

  10. Allan R. Wright says:

    This home, as all design by Mr. Wright, is testament to his Original, American way. Confronting problems directly, with all issues observed to proffer a solution, the solution itself would become apparent. Take what is given through study, add to it an ability to prepare wisely, in material and method, and you will take away deepening, lasting beauty. I have admired Mr. Wright my entire life, all fault my own. His inspiration to see beyond the obvious and take his mind further into a subject, brought forward a lasting comfort in life found in everything accomplished for his clients. Arrogant, he was, while certainty was his faith in orchestrating our environment.

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