The Story of a Doghouse Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Aryo Sumbogo | Monday, 27 June 2022

In the 1950s, Robert and Gloria Berger's family owned an adjoining Usonian house with their doghouse. Interestingly, the doghouse was also designed by the famous architect from the United States, Frank Lloyd Wright. As Wright's smallest design ever built, the doghouse has its own heartwarming story. So, it's no surprise that a copy is currently on display at the Marin Civic Center, San Rafael, California because many people want to see Wright's masterpiece.

Eddie's House designed by Frank Lloyd WrightThe original version of Eddie's House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (Image Courtesy of County of Marin).

Although the size is not much, the doghouse, nicknamed Eddie's House, is still not arbitrarily designed by Wright. Like other Wright-designed homes, this doghouse showcases the characteristics of the Organic Architecture mogul. One of them is the low-pitched roof with large overhangs that can be found in many of Wright's home designs.

All of this was done by Wright because the design of the dog house was initiated by the request of Jim Berger, his client's son who was then 12 years old. Berger himself asked Wright to design a suitable house for his dog. Wright also put the design concept of the doghouse into a blueprint and ordered Berger to build it with some pointers. From the instructions for building it on a concrete slab to the use of redwood planks for the walls

However, the doghouse project had to be delayed until 1963, after Berger had taken a military tour. After that, Eddie's House was managed to wake up, but not long after it jacked up and ended up in a garbage dump. The reason is that in 1970 his father died.

Eddie's House designed by Frank Lloyd WrightEddie's House copy on display at the Marin Civic Center, San Rafael, California (Image Courtesy of County of Marin).

Finally, in 2010, Berger and his brother rebuilt the doghouse while still following the original plan. When finished, Berger then donated a copy of Eddie's House to the County of Marin in Northern California in 2016. The intention is that the story of the Wright-designed dog house can also be enjoyed by others. Since then, many people have been interested to see it.

The initial plan for the display was only two months but was eventually extended to one year. After that, the County of Marin Civic Center chose to keep and close the exhibit, despite public enthusiasm for the doghouse. Until “We received calls and emails since 2016 from people who wanted to come see it,” said Libby Garrison, Head of Marketing and Communications for the County of Marin Department of Cultural Services.

So, after a few years, Eddie's House is now back on display at the County of Marin Civic Center. Unknowingly, the moment also implies a meeting between Wright's grandest and smallest works throughout his career as an architect.

 

Reference:

The Smallest Structure Frank Lloyd Wright Ever Designed Is Now on View

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