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March 2015
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spring House Stabilized

Spring House, the only residence by Frank Lloyd Wright built in Florida, is one of Wright’s last designs to be built (1954) and one of the few in the “hemicycle style”. Designed for George and Clifton Lewis, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Clifton Lewis, with others, formed the Spring House Institute, Inc. to preserve the historic property and make it available for use by the public.

Keast & Hood and Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects were engaged to evaluate the various factors contributing to distressed building materials and provide recommendations for remediating these factors and repairing the structure. A visual assessment in September and a report documenting the required repairs influenced the stabilization of the house this past Sunday, March 22.

Byrd Lewis Mashburn, the President of Spring House Institute, Inc., documented the day:

“You can’t push up, but you have to meet and secure the supports to the ceiling and attach to the structural beams through the ceiling, and shim from the bottom up and level on two sides. We had to find out where the beams should be. The first set of the roof structure beams on the left side of the construction door were not at the angle we had all imagined on the plans, but more like 45º to the upright that is there.”

“The scaffolding started going up with everyone’s help and when all the pieces were together and secured, Brad and Frost, I think, measured the length of the existing support by the door joist, then they measured and cut the 16’ 2x10s the correct lengths and drilled holes and screwed the perpendicular piece to each support.”

“Then they stood one set upright mostly and carried it between the scaffolding and the round table as Frost held the top of it from upstairs. They sat the bottom on the two smaller pieces on the floor and Frost held the top as Seth lined up the bottom and hammered the two smaller pieces towards the glass wall and that upright.”

“It took some shifting and shimming to satisfy the level on two directions (and the eyes) and then Brad screwed the top piece (like the two bottom pieces on the floor, but only one on the top,) into the ceiling and then into the roof structure, then he screwed the upright support into the top piece and then came down and screwed the support to the bottom pieces (that are screwed together.)”

“…all the hands, eyes and brains helped!”


Interior photos courtesy of Byrd Lewis Mashburn

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