ARCHITECT Staff


Architect and author Steven Reiss, AIA, documented the unique and quirky past of one small, carefully crafted home moved not once but twice in “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House” (University of Virginia Press, 2014). Only one of three Virginia commissions Wright carried out, Reiss describes the home’s history with details, original drawings, pictures, and letters exchanged regarding both the original construction and the re-siting. Commissioned in 1939 and built by 1941 in Falls Church, Va., for journalist Loren Pope and his wife Charlotte Pope, and later purchased by Robert and Marjorie Leighey, the house is a perfect example of how a small home can still have architectural significance. The Northern Virginia home is built in the Usonian fashion, a style of middle-income single-story houses echoing Wright’s vision of the American landscape. However, it faced destruction in 1963 when the second homeowners were notified it would be condemned to make room for the construction of Interstate 66. The home was then moved and donated by Marjorie to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1964, along with the entire $31,500 condemnation award she received. The new location was in Alexandria, Va., on the Woodlawn Plantation. The second relocation came in 1995 when the National Trust realized the house had been set on unstable marine clay, but only moved it 30 feet—a better site for its original orientation that spotlights a garden terrace. Despite the home’s bumpy history, it is an important example of a sustainable and environmentally responsible design, which resonates throughout Reiss’s book.

ARCHITECT Staff


ARCHITECT Staff