Yesterday, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samara (also known as the John E. and Catherine E. Christian House), in West Lafayette, Ind., joined the National Park Service’s (NPS) list of National Historic Landmarks, which has more than 2,300 properties. Samara, a late-period Usonian house built from 1954 to 1956, joins fewer than 30 Wright-designed buildings in the U.S. that have been designated as National Historic Landmarks. Owner John Christian is one of just 10 of Wright's original clients to reside in a home designed by the renowned architect.
Wright adopted the name and the look of the samara—a winged seed found in evergreen trees, including those on the Indiana property—as a design motif used throughout the house to symbolize “the organic architectural quality of the part relating to the whole,” according to NPS' executive summary. “As a remarkably complete and mature Usonian design, the home incorporates over forty Wrightian design features that represent the architect’s Usonian ideals, as well as the breadth of Wright’s impact on modern American architecture and design.” Those features include a modular design, connections between the inside and outside, slab floor construction, flat roofs, and open-plan spaces.
In addition to Samara, NPS also designated the Lake Hotel at Yellowstone National Park in Teton County, Wyo.; the California Powder Works Bridge in Santa Cruz County, Calif.; McGregor Memorial Conference Center, designed by modernist architect Minoru Yamasaki in Detroit; and the Brookline Reservoir of the Cochituate Aqueduct in Brookline, Mass.