N 40° 09.524 W 079° 24.960
17T E 634899 N 4446577
Quick Description: An Erdman Prefab formerly located in Lisle, IL, that was recently re-assembled in Polymath Park, originally a Usonian inspired development called Treetops and Mountain Circles designed by former Wright apprentice Peter Berndtson.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 10:43:00 PM
Waymark Code: WM4R8H
Throughout his career, Wright was interested in mass production of housing. In 1954, he discovered that Marshall Erdman (visit link
) , who contracted the Unitarian Meeting House, was selling modest prefabricated homes. Wright offered to design better prefabs, ones that he believed could be marketed for $15,000, which was half as much as Erdman was charging for his own version.
Wright didn't do much on the project until late 1955, but by spring of 1956 he had final plans for a Usonian-type home. His design was for a single story home with a pitched-roof bedroom wing joining a flat-roofed living-dining-kitchen area centered on a large fireplace. A carport with one end of its roof resting on a detached storage shed completed the design. Eventually, Wright produced variations, including a fourth bedroom and options for a full or partial basement. The versions ranged in size from 1,860 to 2,400 square feet.
The prefab package Erdman offered included all the major structural components, interior and exterior walls, floors, windows and doors, as well as cabinets and woodwork. In addition to a lot, the buyer had to provide the foundation, the plumbing fixtures, heating units, electric wiring, and drywall, plus the paint.
Before the buyer could purchase the house, he or she had to submit a topographic map and photos of the lot to Wright, who would then determine where the home should sit on the lot. Wright also intended to inspect each home after completion, and to apply his famous glazed red signature brick to the home if it had been completed as planned.
The Duncan House has had a remarkable journey. Built in 1957, The Wright-designed home was dismantled from its original location in Lisle, IL to avoid destruction following the death of Mr. Duncan in 2002. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, The Progress Fund and the State of Pennsylvania put together a plan with Polymath Park to reconstruct the Duncan House on the Westmoreland County property. When re-assembled it was built from stone as originally designed rather than the masonry blocks used at the first location.
The Duncan House is complimented by two other Usonian-style homes that were designed for the original 1960s by architect and Wright apprentice, Peter Berndtson. Berndtson was the former husband of Wright apprentice and author (visit link
) Cornelia Brierly who still lives at Taliesin.
The Duncan House is open for tours, lodging, and special events by reservation.