HISTORY OF THE ALLEN-LAMBE HOUSE MUSEUM


The Henry J. Allen House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was sold, September 20, 1990 by the Wichita State University Endowment Association to the Allen-Lambe House Foundation.

The residential structure located at 255 N. Roosevelt, Wichita, Ks. was designed for the prominent journalist and Statesman Henry J. Allen and his wife Elsie J. Nuzman Allen, who was active in local art organizations. The design concepts date from 1915 and the House was occupied in 1918. The Allens continued to live in the house until late 1947. The House, that Frank Lloyd Wright considered "among my best," is considered the last of the Prairie Houses. Stylistic exterior features include a horizontal carthage marble "water table" as a transition design element between the prairie floor and the house, raked horizonal brick joints and flush head joints, expansive clay tile roof with emphasis on horizonal lines and a unique ridge, hip ridge and lower starting course with a Japanese flavor.

Interior features include the continuity of the exterior brick which is a blend of ocher and tan colors with all horizontal joints gilded. This detail was only used elsewhere at the Martin House in Buffalo, New York and the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. The living and dining room wrap around a sunken garden with a large water garden. The other two sides of the garden are defined by a garden house and wall capped by large concrete vases.

The quarry tile terrace extends into the living room and dining with access from both rooms through glass doors to the terrace. This continuity of floor material along with the brick, plaster colors, etc., establishes a strong indoor/outdoor design relationship.

Views to the exterior are through "light screens" which consist of clear glass doors and windows with terminal windows or side windows framing the views to nature with art glass. Exterior window flower boxes raise the prairie floor up to establish a strong visual relationship to nature. Lighting is integrated into the environment with the living room ceiling lanterns, wood and mulberry paper and also in the art glass dining room ceiling. Radiator grilles, built in furniture, bookcases and moveable furniture are all interrelated designs for a harmonious whole. 23 pieces of original furniture have been loaned back from The Wichita State University Endowment Association and also art work collected by Elsie Allen is being loaned by Baker University and The Wichita Center for the Arts. The furniture was a collaborative effort between Frank Lloyd Wright and George M. Niedecken who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright on 12 projects over a 15 year period, which included the Coonley House, Robie House and the Meyer May House.


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