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John Christian House (Samara)

This quintessential Usonian house, commissioned by two Purdue University faculty members, sits on a small hill near the Purdue stadium.

Built

1954

Client

Dr. John Christian & his wife Catherine

Address

1301 Woodland Ave.

Status

National Register of Historic Places. Open to the public with tours available April-November.

Commissioned in 1950, it took almost five years before the Christians would see the plans for their house, Samara. Wright’s chosen name refers to the winged seeds of the pine tree that he found on the property during his first visit. The seed’s chevron shape served as inspiration for the stylized design that Wright incorporated into the clerestory windows, dining chairs and living room rug. As was his custom, Wright dictated all interior details including the furniture, linens and landscaping. The lime green, magenta and purple accents reflect Catherine Christian’s desire for an unusually bright color palette. Wright’s wife, Olgivanna, worked with Catherine to help temper the interior with more subdued shades of orange, yellow and beige. Mitered cornered windows, a copper fascia around the roofline and radiant heat from copper pipes underneath the floor reveal Wright’s attention to detail and penchant for innovation. As young professionals, the Christians were not initially able to afford all of the specified custom details, but continued to add them as their budget allowed. Maintaining Wright’s exacting standards, the Christians are still in the process of commissioning the remaining furniture today.

News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation