PHOENIX (AP) — A Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in Phoenix will close to the public starting next month.
The foundation that oversees the David and Gladys Wright House announced that it will temporarily cease hosting daily tours and special events after May 7, according to the architect's great-great-granddaughter. Sarah Levi, who has also been living in the house, said operators want to focus on finding organizations to collaborate on preservation and operations plans.
Between a hot summer and a pending vote on historic-landmark status in December, Levi said it felt like an opportune time to stop and renew those efforts. A wedding scheduled for November will be the only exception to the hiatus.
"Our goal is to be educational and cultural destinations and so we want to home in on those creative outlets and really focus on what the project is going to look like and what we can show the city it's going to look like," Levi said.
Representatives have been in talks with various institutions such as Arizona State University.
The Phoenix City Council is scheduled to decide Dec. 7 on whether to grant the designation, which would ensure against the threat of demolition.
"Having the house saved and open, a place where people can come experience it how I did as a child for my whole childhood is something that's pretty bittersweet and really special to me," Levi said. "It's something that I've put my all into. It'll be really rewarding to have it get to the stages it needs to be in."
The hope is to resume tours after that.
Frank Lloyd Wright built the home for his son and daughter-in-law in 1952. David and Gladys Wright lived on the then 10-acre property until they died in 1997 and 2008, respectively. As a child, Levi, 33, visited there regularly. She would often go swimming or play flashlight tag amid the orange groves.
Family members sold the house after Gladys Wright's passing. According to Levi, her grandparents — David Wright's son and daughter-in-law — never looked into getting historic designation.
A developer bought the house in 2012 with plans to tear it down. Their plans immediately drew an outcry from architects and historical-preservation advocates. It was spared the wrecking ball when Zach Rawling, an attorney and developer, bought it with the intent of preserving it.
For the past year, the property has held tours, workshops, weddings and even yoga classes. But Rawling's proposal to expand the home with a garden pavilion and underground museum has been an ongoing point of contention from residents of the surrounding Arcadia neighborhood.
The opposition from residents had no bearing on the decision to halt tours and events, Levi said.
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