I’m a volunteer for my township’s historical commission and we rediscovered one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s residential homes in the area, the owner having recently passed away. Folly Cottage was designed in the 1920’s for Wright’s daughter, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident before he could build it for her as intended, in Arizona. Wright prohibited his plans from being executed by anyone other than himself, but these were adapted for use by his protegé, the architect John Howe. The name of the cottage, ‘Folly’, resulted from the 3 years it took to complete and the final unanticipated expenses.
The site is actually two buildings begun in 1960 – a three room retreat and a tiny guesthouse. Howe and Wright’s son-in-law, William Wesley Peters, of Taliesin Associated Architects, executed the original plans, adding the guest house in 1974, an art gallery.
The building is significant for being meticulously engineered and having just one right angle. The entire design is based on triangles and the house clings to a steep slope. In fact, the main entrance is reached from below ground level.
I took photos today and was amazed at how well both structures have endured southeastern Pennsylvania weather. The roofs are like new, and there is little wear on the hand cut Tennessee Fieldstone walls. It is a spectacular tribute to Wright’s genius and defies the usual critique that his buildings lack solid engineering skills.
This is from the link below on architect John Howe:
John Howe (1913-1997) joined the Taliesin Fellowship of Frank Lloyd Wright, in Spring Green, Wisconsin, in 1932, becoming a charter member of the Fellowship and apprentice to Mr. Wright. Howe has often been called “the pencil in Mr. Wright’s hand” for his lovely work on hundreds of architectural renderings. Howe remained at Taliesin until 1964 as one of the Taliesin Associated Architects, during which time he designed more than thirty structures throughout the United States. Howe moved to Minnesota in 1967 and opened an office which he maintained until his retirement in 1992. After retirement John Howe and his wife Lu Sparks Howe moved to California. He died in Novato, California on September 21, 1997. His collection consists of architectural materials and includes working drawings, renderings, prints, photographs, job files, contracts, correspondence and specifications for over 300 commissions, built and unbuilt.