By Patrick Sisson, Curbed.com
It seemed like a shoo-in for preservation, especially after local lawyer Zach Rawling purchased the home for $2.4 million in 2012, saving it from the wrecking ball. Rawling had grand plans to create a museum and wedding venue, and despite neighborhood resistance to having a new cultural institution down the block, he seemed on the verge of success.
There were even plans announced last summer to donate the home to the School of Architecture at Taliesin, which Wright founded, turning the residence into a “living laboratory” and reconnecting it with the architect’s legacy.
That plan fell through last month. Rawling and Taliesin struggled with fundraising—Rawling needed to raise $7 million by 2020 for the agreement to work—and without financial support, the home again returned to the open market, asking $12.9 million.
“I think it’s highly emblematic of the challenges any historic house faces,” says Liz Waytkus, executive director of Docomomo, a preservation organization focused on modern architecture. “The suggestion that a nonprofit would be able to come up with $7 million dollars ... it’s incredibly difficult, especially in the U.S., where nonprofits receive very little, if any government support.”