Mark Lamster | Essays

Architecture for Sale (Wright vs. Johnson)


On the top, Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House (1924) in the Hollywood Hills, on the market for $15 million. On the bottom, Philip Johnson's Farney House (1946) in Sagaponack, on the market for $35 million. The Ennis is one of the glories of Wright's textile block period. The Farney, which has been expanded considerably, was in its original form an elegant beach house perched on the Hamptons dunes. One doesn't generally associate Johnson with modesty, and the $35 million price tag certainly isn't, but this was a simple structure, really just a pair of cedar-sided wings connected via a living room and an open breezeway. Wright and Johnson had a stormy relationship marked by mutual necessity, professional jealousy, and a sense of admiration that was largely uni-directional. Wright is justly more celebrated. Johnson, however, had his moments. Given the choice (and the extra $20 million) I'd rather live in the Farney. Of course, I'm a New Yorker.

Posted in: Architecture

Jobs | July 17