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Saving Wright: The Freeman House and the Preservation of Meaning, Materials, and Modernity Hardcover – December 19, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (December 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393733025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393733020
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #547,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"[C]omprehensive and compelling.... Chusid...deftly tackles the conservation issues that are arising with more modern buildings." (Press Release announcing Saving Wright won the 2012 Historic Preservation Book Prize from Mary Washington University.) 

“This extraordinarily engaging book goes to the heart of key issues related to the preservation not only of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture but also of all modernist buildings whose materials and methods were experimental in their time. . . . This book wholly recovers historical and technical realities and, just as importantly, frames them narratively in such a way that the reader sees this case study as representative of field-wide concerns.” (Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum)

“This well-written and informative book shares [Chusid’s] close-up view of a fascinating case study and discusses philosophical issues and practical problems that we encounter with many twentieth-century structures. . . . [A] valuable addition to the libraries of admirers of Frank Lloyd Wright and preservation professionals involved with twentieth-century structures.” (APT Bulletin: Journal of Preservation Technology)

“[A] wonderful new book…. [T]his is much more than another book about another Wright house, its clients and it design. The book is a detailed case study in historic preservation and the myriad challenges entailed in the task…. [C]ompelling reading for scholars and aficionados of Wright’s work.” (The Journal Times Online)

“The book’s subject is the perfect laboratory for considering such issues as the advisability of removing the work of later architects to expose the original building, and whether to retain failing structural materials in an earthquake zone or to re-engineer some of the parts in order to preserve the whole. . . . [T]he thoughtful text, accompanied by extensive, detailed photographs of the original construction and later preservation, will help guide readers in making these decisions.” (Style 1900: Antiques & Interiors)

About the Author

Jeffrey M. Chusid, is an architect and an associate professor in the historic preservation planning program at Cornell University. He has also taught at Harvard, the University of Southern California, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Texas at Austin. His professional work has included architectural design, planning for cultural landscapes and historic communities, and materials conservation projects in California, New York and Texas as well as China, Fiji, Bosnia, and Ukraine. He was the first United States coordinator for DOCOMOMO and the founding president of the Texas Chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology and is currently president of the Society for the Preservation of Historic Cements. A past editor of the Journal of Architectural Education, he has lectured, written articles, and curated exhibitions on modernist architecture in India and in Southern California, with special emphasis on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Chusid was the director of the Freeman House, and its preservation architect, from 1986 to 1997.His book, Saving Wright, was awarded the 2014 Society of Architectural Historians Antoinette Forrester Downing Book Award and the 2012 Historic Preservation Book Prize by The University of Mary Washington Center for Historic Preservation, and received an honorable mention for the 2012 Lee Nelson Book Award from the Association for Preservation Technology, Intl. (APT).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. MacTaggart on January 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have a particular affection for books devoted to a single house. You get a level of detail and richness impossible to find if a house has but a chapter.

Saving Wright is densely packed with information.

The Freeman House has long been a favorite due to its small size, dazzling urban view, unique design (even for Wright), and the fact that the Freemans spent their lives in the problem-prone house.

After reading the book, what really struck me was how badly the house was constructed. That it survived the Northridge earthquake in 1994 seems a miracle, and the house underwent an eight year process that essentially rebuilt it structurally. Even today the house still needs a great deal of work. This has generated a lot of criticism regarding the owners of the house (the University of California) but after reading the book I was a little sympathetic.

I never really understood the house (layout, how it was built, etc.) but do now thanks to Saving Wright.

The diminutive house was expensive ($21K) -- more than twice the original estimate. Yes, this was not unusual for Wright, but it's extraordinary when you consider that Neutra was building gorgeous houses a decade later for $3K!

My only wish is that the many plans had been redrawn to offer greater clarity, and presented larger. Same with the many reconstruction images (a real treat; yum!).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Thompson on March 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I debated whether or not to purchase this book sight unseen. After all, I already had the Sweeney book on the LA houses and had visited the Freeman house in person. I wasn't sure this book would add much to what I already knew. I'm very pleased that I bought it. It's a thoroughly researched history of the entire life-cycle of the house up to the present day.

It clearly explains the daunting task of building the house (at least 74 block types were required, for example) and the perhaps even more daunting necessity to preserve and restore this iconic block house. The book is well illustrated throughout with drawings and photographs. It also reproduces the original contract documents.

This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in Frank Lloyd Wright and his revolutionary block houses.
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Saving Wright: The Freeman House and the Preservation of Meaning, Materials, and Modernity
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