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Accessible Frank Lloyd Wright House to Make Public Debut

April 15, 2014
Source: Disability Scoop

The only fully-accessible home ever designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright is set to open to the public as a museum. The Kenneth & Phyllis Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois, will open June 6, just days ahead of what would have been Wrights 147th birthday.

Wright was commissioned in the late 1940s to conceive the one-of-a-kind home for Kenneth Laurent who experienced a spinal cord injury in World War II that left the lower half of his body paralyzed.

Decades before the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, the home was designed to be appreciated aesthetically from a seated position and included switches, built-in desks as well as other features and furnishings, all accommodating an individual [who uses] a wheelchair.

Laurent and his wife Phyllis lived in the home from 1952 until early 2012 when local preservationists acquired the residence and its original furnishings designed by Wright at auction.

The home was added to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

“The building is unique in that it has been continually occupied by the original owners, and contains not only furnishings designed by the architect, but many personal items of the owners. In other words, it is a complete work of art,” said restoration architect John Eifler of Eifler & Associates Architects who worked with the Laurent House Foundation to restore the home and prepare it for public viewings.

Starting in June, tours will be held regularly during the first and last weekend of each month and by appointment, the foundation said.

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