Buyers will soon have the rare chance to buy an iconic Phoenix home: the last house Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed.
Called the “Norman Lykes home” after who it was designed for, the almost 2,900-square-foot curvaceous house at the edge of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve can be yours for $3.25 million.
Its circle structure is reminiscent of New York’s Guggenheim Museum, also designed by Wright late in his life.
The prolific architect created more than 1,000 buildings across the world, but this house is the only one of his currently for sale in metro Phoenix.
“It’s an amazing home, and one of only 14 circle houses designed by Wright,” said Jack Luciano, an agent with the Scottsdale office of Beverly Hills-based brokerage The Agency.
He will be listing the three-bedroom Lykes home for sale in early 2018.
Wright started designing the home in 1959, just before his death, with rounded windows and walls to blend into the desert mountain it is perched on. His apprentice John Rattenbury finished the design, and the house was built in 1967.
Luciano said the home has had only two owners, the Lykeses and the family that bought it in the mid-1980s and is now selling it.
The Lykes home is the first Wright-designed Valley house to go on the market since the controversy over the architect’s most famous Arizona house ended.
In June, years of fighting over preserving the David and Gladys Wright house in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood came to an end when it was donated for use by the Taliesin West architecture program.
The home built in 1952 was designed for Wright's son and his wife. Taliesin West is the school and winter camp Wright founded in Scottsdale in 1937.
The gift came in time for what would have been Wright’s 150th birthday.
From Arizona State University’s grand Gammage Auditorium, originally designed for a Baghdad opera house, to his signature concrete and circular homes and the First Christian Church with its 77-foot spire, Wright gave the Valley its own architecture style.
"He (Wright) was drawn to Arizona by a certain magic of the desert environment,” said growth expert and attorney Grady Gammage Jr. after the Arcadia house was preserved. “It presented a kind of clear canvas on which he wanted to paint with his organic architectural style.”
Gammage's father, former ASU President Grady Gammage, was friends with Wright and commissioned him to build the university's auditorium in 1957.
“That style, low buildings using concrete, wood and lots of shade, evolved into an adaptation of the ranch-house style that became the hallmark of Phoenix,” said Gammage Jr. “It is sometimes hard to see his style embedded in those houses — but drive around and look at the remaining ranches and you see his influence."
Wright is often credited with designing the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. But though the concrete blocks were his design, the hotel’s architect was one of his former students, Albert Chase McArthur.
The Lykes house was designed in Wright’s organic architecture style to blend in with the curves of the desert mountains near it. Unobstructed views from the house overlook Palm Canyon and stretch all the way south to Sky Harbor International Airport.
The house originally had five bedrooms, but some were as small as walk-in closets. Rattenbury updated the home’s interior design in 1994, transforming some of the small bedrooms into a master bedroom.
Luciano said all changes to the home were approved by Taliesin West to adhere to the home’s original design.
A crescent-shaped pool, part of Wright’s original design, was also added. And a room designed as a workshop was converted into a home theater.
“Wright transformed architecture through organic design, a principle on display at the Lykes House as the home is integrated with the mountain on which it is built, while its living room windows embrace a commanding view of the Valley,” said Stuart Graff, CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
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