Perched high on a cliff above the Snake River in a remote area of Idaho, Frank Lloyd Wright’s artist studio is a testament to the architect?s total mastery of his craft. The simple, one-room studio Wright designed for Idaho landscape painter Archie Boyd Teater and Patricia Teater in 1952 is a sophisticated, complex work of art.
As Wright’s only artist studio (other than his own), the structure was intended to foster the creative life. Located on one of the most spectacular natural sites Wright ever worked with, the studio at Teater’s Knoll is a premier example of organic architecture at its best, where the fundamental integration with nature blurs the meeting of building and nature.
Located on a bench about a hundred feet above the Snake River between the towns of Bliss and Hagerman, the Archie Teater Studio is a 3000-square-foot studio/residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1952.
The floor plan of the house is a parallelogram. The built-in furniture was also designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and was included in his original plans. The roofline slopes gradually forward; it and the terrace beneath it give the sense of a ship’s prow.
The walls of the structure were constructed out of Oakley stone, a quartzite rock obtained from a quarry eighty miles to the east. The earth tone hues of the Oakley stone blend in and harmonize with the sandy soil and lava rock of the canyon walls.
The Archie Teater Studio is architecturally significant as the only documented structure in Idaho designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Because of Idaho’s late settlement and economic development, the state’s architecture is characterized by relatively modest residential structures designed by regional architects, and buildings designed by the masters of modern architecture are rare. In addition, the Archie Teater Studio is the only studio, except for Wright’s own, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The original owner, Archie B. Teater, was an important Idaho artist. After the death of Archie Teater in 1978, his wife Patricia left the Bliss area and the house lay unoccupied for several years. During this time the north prow and the carport roof sagged by more than a foot. Both were straightened and braced with structural steel as part of a careful restoration that took place in 1982-1983.
A knee brace, which had temporarily supported the north prow and which was not part of the original drawings, was replaced by a stepped brace as shown on Sheet No. 2 of the original plans. A similar brace was constructed adjacent to the main entryway to support the roof at that location. The Teaters had used a section of a high antenna support (triangularly-shaped steel brace) to hold up this part of the roof.
Preservation Idaho is proud to honor this project and preservationist with an Orchid Award for Heritage Stewardship.
Accepting the award during the 39th Annual Orchids and Onions Awards Luncheon on behalf of Henry Whiting was a family friend, Tony Bowler