Architect Wants to Relocate New Jersey Frank Lloyd Wright to Italy

Last year, we retold the riveting tale of Joseph Catrambone, the diehard preservationist who purchased a cottage attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright for a ceremonious $1 and began meticulously disassembling the building to reassemble it later on a site that wasn’t about to be scooped up by indifferent developers. At the risk of devoting this blog to re-blogging interesting New York Times tidbits, we must bring your attention to another article today that tells a strikingly similar story: Wright aficionado and architect Paolo Bulletti has launched an effort to purchase the 1954 Bachman Wilson House, one of Wright’s Usonian Houses in New Jersey, and transport the structure to the town of Fiesole outside Florence.

As the Times reports, Bulletti was approached with an intriguing proposal from the current owners and occupants of the house, Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino, who had heard of Bulletti’s Wright exhibition in Fiesole, the Italian hillside town where Wright fled to with his mistress in 1910 to avoid the repercussions of their scandalous relationship. Concerned with the condition of the Bachman Wilson House, the Tarantinos handpicked Bulletti to take charge of the house’s preservation and potential relocation abroad — a radical idea that emerged in response to the possibly threatening flooding of the nearby Millstone River. One caveat (among many) is that the house would not stand up to building codes in Fiesole, meaning no one would be able to live in it, “[b]ut it can be erected in protected land, a park or a garden as if it were a sculpture,” Bulletti told the Times. Another kink, of course, is the money: the cost of the relocation is $1.5 million and counting. With local economies floundering, could this perhaps be a project for the next Venice Biennale? Read more about the project on The New York Times.

Photo: The Bachman Wilson House / Tarantino Studio

- Kelly Chan