Lloyd Burlingham House (unbuilt), El Paso, TX

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SWSinDC
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: St. Joseph, MI

Lloyd Burlingham House (unbuilt), El Paso, TX

Post by SWSinDC »

An article in the latest Architectural Digest references the (unbuilt) design FLLW conceived for a house for Lloyd Burlingham in El Paso, Texas in 1942. Other than fleeting (and negative) references in this forum to two houses built in the Southwest allegedly on the basis of the design, I can find almost no information on the Burlingham House concept. Does anyone know the story surrounding Lloyd Burlingham and/or the House, especially where in El Paso it was to be built and why it never came to fruition? Beyond that, can anyone shed any light on FLLW's visits to and/or thoughts of El Paso? Thanks.

Pdean
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:47 pm

Lloyd Burlingham El Paso

Post by Pdean »

SWSinDC, As an avid FLW fan living in Texas myself, I'm very much interested in learning more about the home proposed in El Paso. You make mention of negative references concerning the other two homes built in the Southwest. Please share your references. I would like to read them. I've posted comments in the past concerning the current restoration taking place at Gillin in the Dallas area. This is trully a beautiful home. I've never read any negative commentaries on this home if it is fact one of those you reference.

Please share.



PD/Dallas

Pdean
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:47 pm

El Paso References

Post by Pdean »

SWSinDC, My apologies. I read right over the reference that you did in fact include in your original post. I will have to track down the latest edition of the Architectual Digest.



Pdean.

SWSinDC
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: St. Joseph, MI

RE: Burlingham House

Post by SWSinDC »

PDean,

The negative references I mentioned are found in an earlier string in this Wright Chat Forum entitled "Frank Lloyd Wright House Plans." Here is a link to that string--see the 2nd and 5th postings from the top (one calling the house "Burlingame"):



http://www.savewright.org/talk/viewtopi ... 643976b015

annburlingham
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:46 pm
Location: Perry, NY

Re: Lloyd Burlingham House (unbuilt), El Paso, TX

Post by annburlingham »

SWSinDC wrote:An article in the latest Architectural Digest references the (unbuilt) design FLLW conceived for a house for Lloyd Burlingham in El Paso, Texas in 1942. Other than fleeting (and negative) references in this forum to two houses built in the Southwest allegedly on the basis of the design, I can find almost no information on the Burlingham House concept. Does anyone know the story surrounding Lloyd Burlingham and/or the House, especially where in El Paso it was to be built and why it never came to fruition? Beyond that, can anyone shed any light on FLLW's visits to and/or thoughts of El Paso? Thanks.


Someone told me there was a piece on the house in the Architectural Digest, which led me to this forum. I am the eldest of Lloyd Burlingham's three daughters from his second marriage.



There's a lot I don't know about the Wright house, but I can tell you some. Daddy and his first wife (we always refer to her as "the one with the money") , Hilda Shepard(sp?) Burlingham, lived in El Paso in the 1940s, and bought a piece of land in the country with, apparently, an incredible view, on which they wanted a house built. They approached Wright and got him to come see it, whereupon, by my father's report, Wright said, "There's only one architect worthy of this site. Luckily I'm available." He did drawings - Margo Stipe, registrar of the FLW archives, was in my bookstore recently and kindly sent along copies - but World War 2 intervened and the house never got beyond drawings. After the war Daddy and Hilda moved back up here to western New York to his family farm and eventually separated and divorced so that, although one of Hilda's sons by her first marriage (my father was her second husband) wanted to have the house built as a memorial, nothing ever happened.



Daddy died in 1986. We were amused by a newspaper article, a couple years before that, about someone building a version of the house, as I recall, which claimed that "Lord Burlingham" had died in the war. I've been pleased to see drawings show up in various collections of Wright's work over the years. The year the house was a calendar page, I think I managed to get copies for most of my family.



By the way, thanks to everyone who spelled "Burlingham" correctly.



-Ann Burlingham, Perry, NY (about an hour east of Buffalo, speaking of Wright stomping grounds)

SWSinDC
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: St. Joseph, MI

RE: Burlingham House

Post by SWSinDC »

Ms. Burlingham: I could not be more pleased than to have my query answered by the daughter of Lloyd Burlingham. Your details on Frank Lloyd Wright and the never-constructed house are fantastic -- thank you so much.



You and others may be interested to know that your father's divorce from Hilda, and the land on which the house was presumably to be built, were the subject of a court decision out of New Mexico in 1963, entitled Hilda S. Burlingham v. Lloyd Burlingham, 72 N.M. 433, 384 P.2d 699. The decision relates that Hilda put her separate pre-marriage money into her joint account with your father in order for them to purchase 515+ acres approximately 8 miles NW of El Paso, but the land was conveyed to your father in his name. After they divorced, Hilda sought a declaratory judgment naming her as sole owner of the land. The trial court entered judgment declaring them joint owners, but the appeals court ruled that, because in Texas a wife's separate property remains her property during marriage, and Hilda's separate money was easily traceable to the purchase of the land, the land, like the money with which it was purchased, was her separate property. The court accordingly ruled for Hilda.

mdes
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:39 am

Re: Lloyd Burlingham House (unbuilt), El Paso, TX

Post by mdes »

Dear SWSinDC, do you have info on the specific property location for the Burlingham House project from 1941? I a headed to El Paso and would like to visit the site of the proposed design.

SWSinDC
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: St. Joseph, MI

Re: Lloyd Burlingham House (unbuilt), El Paso, TX

Post by SWSinDC »

I'm afraid I am not so good a sleuth that I can pinpoint the planned location, but the court decision that I mentioned in my previous post (which was so long ago that I honestly do not remember writing it!) offers a fascinating clue as to where *not* to look -- El Paso!

According to the Supreme Court of New Mexico (first clue): "on January 20, 1942, the defendant [Lloyd Burlingham] purchased a tract of land located about eight miles northwest of El Paso, Texas, containing 515.53 acres, being a portion of the Santa Teresa Grant and described in warranty deed recorded in Dona Ana County, New Mexico." Notably, that purchase was contemporaneous with Wright's design for Burlingham, so it certainly suggests that he (and his wife) planned to build just across the Rio Grande from El Paso in southeast New Mexico.

Let us know if you can pick up the trail in Dona Ana County, NM. Notably, there are still Burlinghams listed in the county property records...

mdes
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:39 am

Re: Lloyd Burlingham House (unbuilt), El Paso, TX

Post by mdes »

Yes, I have seen all of that in your previous posts. Good work! I will be passing through El Paso, and probably more to the point Las Cruces, in a few weeks and have made arrangements to scour the Assessors offices and historic property maps thanks. The Burlingham vs Burlingham divorce case may prove to be the key. I'll keep you informed.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: Lloyd Burlingham House (unbuilt), El Paso, TX

Post by SDR »

Whatever else the Burlingham project may have been, it was surely a formal exercise---an exploration of novel architectural form. While Wright's work is without fail based on an elemental geometry of one sort or another, here he perhaps gets closer to free form than at any other point in his career. While the irregular ovoid plan shape, developed out of the main space into the courtyard, clearly is the result of extending one or another of the arcs that define the walls, the result is anything but expected. And the right angles are only an approximation of same, as they are formed by the intersections of concentric arcs, not of straight lines.

https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 1962966870

Moreover, the single elevation drawing in the set found at Artstor reveals another surprise: wall sections that, like the plan, are also "football shaped" (to use Pfeiffer's descriptor), a pointed edge touching the floor and another pointing skyward. Could this be another feature unique to this design ? Where else has Mr Wright echoed a plan shape in section ?

As for the delineation of this most unusual confection---rivaled in Wright's work only by the unbuilt Kaufmann desert house and by the Bailleres design for Acapulco, in elaboration of the arc in both plan and section---it was a bit too much for one drafter, who botched the attempt to create an accurate aerial perspective view of a vaulted, curved and pointed roof form. My freehand correction of this part of the drawing will have to stand, or fall, on its own merits:

Image

Image

DRN
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Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Re: Lloyd Burlingham House (unbuilt), El Paso, TX

Post by DRN »

The video in this link contains some information about the original site in El Paso.
The video is a Pechakucha presentation by William Helm, the architect that worked with the new owner in 2015 to restore the Legacy version of the unbuilt 1941 Burlingham design built in SantaFe in the 1980's. It seems the new owner of the Legacy house was a childhood friend of a Burlingham grandson and was familiar with the houses history.

https://www.pechakucha.com/presentation ... tery-house

This is a link to an account written by Charles Klotsche about his experience working with TAA/Charles Montooth on the Legacy build of the Burlingham house:
https://books.google.com/books?id=Vt_-A ... AF6BAgMEAM

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