What do the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and a doghouse in Marin have in common? Frank Lloyd Wright – arguably the greatest architect in American history, designed them both.
In 1956, a 12-year-old Jim Berger wrote to the famous architect asking Wright to draw plans for a doghouse that would keep his black lab Eddie warm. Berger asked Wright for a set of plans that would be both easy to build and match his family’s home (also designed by Wright).
Wright actually responded, telling young Berger he was very busy but that he should remind him the following year. Berger like a good boy did as he was told and was rewarded for his efforts.
Ironically, Eddie never liked the fancy doghouse and refused to use it. So, in 1970 the only doghouse ever designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was unceremoniously taken to the dump.
After being interviewed about the doghouse in 2010 by documentary filmmaker Michael Miner, the now-grown Berger and his younger brother Eric decided to rebuild the doghouse for a scene in Miner’s film ‘Romanza.’ It ended up taking the two cabinet makers three months to re-construct.
And like so many Wright designed buildings: it leaks.
As Miner told the IJ:
“If it didn’t leak, no one would believe it was by Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s the perfect ending to the story.”