The architecture of the Frank House expresses the great leap that modernism took when Walter Gropius and his partner Marcel Breuer left 1930s Germany to bring their ideas, their imagination, and their teachings to America. Three generations of the family of Cecelia and Robert Frank have lived in this 17,000 square-foot masterpiece designed as a complete work of art – landscape, interior and furnishings – by Gropius and Breuer, and built in 1939-40.
The house, its interior, and its furnishings down to lighting fixtures and fabrics have been lovingly preserved by Cecelia and Robert’s youngest child, Alan I W Frank. The house is virtually unchanged since the day the family moved in.
Unlike previous modernist designs in Germany, where a sharp, machined aesthetic defined a rigorous geometric approach, the Frank House achieves a sensuous warmth through gently sculptured curves and warm pink-buff natural stone. The home’s soaring expanses of glass and its sensitive rapport with its surrounding grounds suggest a belief in the power of light and environment to nurture the health of body, mind and spirit of all who enter its embrace.
Throughout the interior, the Franks’ repeated requests in letters to Gropius and Breuer for “a warm and friendly feeling” to support an active family, social and cultural life, are echoed in the designers’ exploration of new materials and warm color palettes.