The only accessible home built by architect Frank Lloyd Wright has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Wright designed the Rockford, Ill. home in 1949 for paralyzed World War II veteran Kenneth Laurent.
The home has innovative features such as raised light switches, accessible home furnishings, wide doors and hallways. Wright took care to design the home so its beauty could be enjoyed from wheelchair level.
Laurent and his wife, Phyllis, lived in the home for 60 years until moving to an assisted living facility last February. The Laurent House Foundation, a local conservation group, purchased the home at auction for $578,000.
Jerry Heinzeroth, president of the Laurent House Foundation, said the house is significant because it’s a pioneering example of universal design that allowed Laurent to minimize his disability and focus on his capabilities. “It’s the most provocative example of a house that meets the physical needs of a person with a disability, but wraps it in a beauty that doesn’t focus on that disability,” Heinzeroth said.
The Laurent Home Foundation plans to open the home as a museum on June 8, 2013, the 146th anniversary of Wright’s birth.