Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Book Review: Alan I W Frank House: The Modernist Masterwork By Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer

©  2019 Alan I W Frank House Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

At the end of 2019, publishing powerhouse Rizzoli published an amazing book - a rare opportunity to explore the largest and most important house ever designed by Walter Gropius, founder of Bauhaus, and Marcel Breuer, a leading architect and furniture designer of the twentieth century - ALAN I W FRANK HOUSE: The Modernist Masterwork By Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. 

Built in 1939, and occupied in 1940 the house is a truly a masterpiece. Gropius and Breuer designed every aspect of the home built for Robert and Cecelia Frank, a third-generation of Pittsburgh industrialists, and their son, Alan. 

Some quick house details: 12,000 square feet on four floors, nine bedrooms, thirteen bathrooms, five terraces, a rooftop dance floor, an indoor swimming pool, and a cantilevered staircase of independent slab risers that Breuer would go on to make a signature of his work. To call it a house is a supreme understatement. It is more akin to a palace, mid-century style.

©  2019 Alan I W Frank House Foundation. All Rights Reserved. No image may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written consent of the copyright owner.
Photo by Ezra Stoller, 1940

Robert Frank, an engineer, was very hands on in the process of the construction of the home he and his family would share. Together with his wife Cecelia, the collaboration of designer/architect/homeowner resulted in a beautiful home filled with extremely advanced systems. They incorporated an integral system for cleaning air, and an energy conservation system using the water from the indoor swimming pool as part of the heating and cooling system of the home. 

©  2019 Alan I W Frank House Foundation. All Rights Reserved. No image may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written consent of the copyright owner.
Photo by Ezra Stoller, 1940

What is most fascinating though, is that the home remains essentially the same today as it was when it was first built, an unrivaled example of mid-century architecture and design. This is in large part due to Alan Frank, the son of the inspired creators of the home. Alan has preserved the house for more than 50-years, and is the current president of the Alan I W Frank House Foundation, whose mission is to preserve this unique asset in architectural and national history for the education and delight of future generations and to give them a place to connect directly with the work of the master designers who created the look and feel of modern life.  

©  2019 Alan I W Frank House Foundation. All Rights Reserved. No image may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written consent of the copyright owner.
Photo by Ezra Stoller, 1940

If so inclined, you may purchase the book via the link below, or on the Alan I W Frank website where you can learn more about the foundation, the book, the house and the incredible visionaries who turned paper and plans into one of the world's most impressive examples of mid-century architecture. 

No comments:

Post a Comment