Fact Sheet

Frank Lloyd Wright's 'first and only' doghouse

At the request of a 12-year-old, the architect designed a one-of-a-kind home for a pooch

Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed wonderous structures such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the Fallingwater home in southwestern Pennsylvania. But, as California resident Jim Berger tells the Associated Press, Wright also once designed a doghouse — the "first and only" time he was known to have done so. Here, a brief guide:

Why did Wright design a doghouse?
In the 1950s, Wright designed a home for Berger's family in San Anselmo, Calif. When that was complete, 12-year-old Jim wrote a letter in June 1956 to the architect asking if he would design a doghouse for the family's black Labrador, Eddie: "I would appreciate it if you would design me a doghouse, which would be easy to build, but would go with our house." Young Berger offered to pay for the plans with money he earned on his paper route, and gave Wright the dog's measurements (2.5 feet high and 3 feet long), saying that the doghouse would be "for the winters mainly."

How did Wright respond?
Wright said he was too busy at the time, but told Berger to write back in November of that year. The young boy did — on the first of the month — and Wright sent him designs for a doghouse in a sharp triangular shape, with a sloped, shingled roof — free of charge.

Was the doghouse built?
The design wasn't used until 10 years after Wright delivered it. By that time, Eddie the dog had died, so the blueprint was used to build a house for another family dog. When the family no longer had a use for the doghouse, it was discarded. But last year, Berger rebuilt the doghouse using the original plans when documentary filmmaker Michael Miner featured it in his film Romanza. Berger tells the Associated Press that despite his asking Wright for something "easy to build," putting the doghouse together "was a nightmare." (Click here for a look at Berger and his Frank Lloyd Wright doghouse.)

Sources: Associated PressDaily MailThe Washington Post

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