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The Duncan House is one of eleven modest Usonian homes that were prefabricated by a Wisconsin builder, Marshall Erdman, and constructed on lots chosen by the buyers.

Built

1957

Client

Don C. Duncan and his wife Elizabeth

Address

Usonian Drive

Status

Available for rent.

Though Elizabeth Duncan had long admired Wright’s homes, her husband thought that they were not wealthy enough for the architect’s work. In 1956, House and Home magazine published an article on Wright’s collaboration with the Marshall Erdman Company to produce prefab houses. Each house featured a masonry core with Masonite board exterior panel siding (here painted yellow) and horizontal battons (red). The Duncans purchased a version of prefab #1, replacing the Wisconsin limestone and opting for the less-expensive carport. In 2002 the house became derelict, following the death of Donald Duncan. Two years later, the Duncan House was dismantled and moved to Pennsylvania, where it was reconstructed on a 125-acre tract of woodland called Polymath Park. The park, which also includes three homes built by Wright apprentices, is maintained by Tom Papinchak.

Edward Boynton commissioned Wright to build a total work of art, including the house, landscaping and furniture. The site, which stretched across four city lots, afforded Wright the space to incorporate an expansive garden, tennis court and rectangular reflecting pool, providing the open prairie feel that he sought. Wright, in an unusually fruitful collaboration with Edward Boynton’s 21-year-old daughter, Beulah, designed the two-story house to stand sideways on the lot in an elongated “T” plan. Art glass windows and a large verandah characterize the house, which has suffered numerous structural problems due to Rochester’s harsh winter conditions. The current owners, Francis Cosentino and his wife, Jane Parker, purchased the house in 2009 and undertook an extensive restoration, with over 150 talented craftsmen working over a two-year period. Completed in 2012, the process was documented by Rochester’s Public Broadcasting Station in a program entitled “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Boynton House: The Next Hundred Years.”

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