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Wonderwood

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1947–1948, Marcel Breuer with Rolland Thompson, Harry Seidler, and William Landsberg. 234 Country Club Rd., 3 miles south of Ligonier

Marcel Breuer designed two houses in western Pennsylvania, a city house—the Cecelia and Robert Frank House in Pittsburgh ( AL111) with Walter Gropius—and this country house for the mother of Rolland Thompson, a draftsman in Breuer's New York City office. Thompson, who studied at Harvard's Graduate School of Design and held an engineering degree from MIT, joined Breuer's newly formed New York City firm just after World War II. The site specified by the client offers an exquisite view of Ligonier Valley. After much correspondence, Breuer designed a long, one-story stone house that blocks the view from the approach, but reveals it magnificently upon entering the living room with its wall of glass. Breuer agreed to use oak windows and mullions to complement the narrow, squared sandstones of the walls specified by the client. The house, with its characteristic flat roof, glass walls, and sunscreens, hugs the hillside. Breuer also helped design the terraced landscaping defined by low stone walls. A second story, not designed by Breuer, was added later. The second owners sympathetically restored the house in 1995, using the more than two hundred drawings in the Syracuse University archives, many by Breuer associates Thompson, Seidler, and Landsberg, overseen by architect Laura Nettleton.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.
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Data

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Citation

Lu Donnelly et al., "Wonderwood", [Ligonier, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-01-WE30.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 228-229.

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