What do Frank Lloyd Wright, a wealthy Texan couple, a Mexican government official, and Marilyn Monroe all have in common?
Frank Lloyd Wright designed a clubhouse in 1949 for the Windfohrs, a wealthy couple from Fort Worth, Texas. The clubhouse he designed had a large circular living room with a domed roof and a central skylight. Wings with barrel vault roofs extended out to contain the bedrooms, kitchen and other elements of the house. The Texas couple decided not to more forward with the clubhouse, so Wright laid the plans aside.
Three years later, in 1952 a Mexican government official, Raul Bailleres, asked Wright to design a home for his family at Acapulco Bay. Wright took the idea of the building he had designed for the Texas couple and adapted it to the more temperate climate of Mexico. He adjusted the design to fit the sloping site and enlarged the plans, adding a covered terrace and partial lower level. However, the Bailleres lost their son in a tragic accident and abandoned the project. Wright once again laid the plans aside.
Five years later, in 1957, Marilyn Monroe and her playwright husband Arthur Miller approached Wright. Monroe and Miller wanted Wright to design a large home for them, so he once again modified the domed clubhouse for their site in Connecticut. However, the couple divorced the following year and the plans were once again laid aside.
It wasn’t until after Wright’s death that the clubhouse plans were revisited. The Taliesin Associated Architects (an architectural firm founded by Frank Lloyd Wright to carry on his architectural vision) adapted the designs for a 74,000 sq. ft clubhouse eon the slops of Waikapu, Maui. It was completed and opened for business in 1993. The King Kamehameha Golf Club is a synthesized version of Wright’s three original plans. The clubhouse was modified to fit the site and circumstances, but maintains the spirit and integrity of the original designs.
Photo 1 and 2, courtesy the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York).
Photo 3, 4, and 5 courtesy the King Kamehameha Golf Club, Maui.