The Zimmerman House

The following text is a sidebar to "Modern and Historic," September-October 2007.

The Zimmerman House

Manchester, New Hampshire

This red-tiled 1950 Frank Lloyd Wright house sits low to the ground at an angle on a suburban lot, its backside facing an expansive landscape that appears to float into the home through plate-glass windows flanked by planters on both sides. “The whole idea was to make the walls disappear between the garden and the room,” said docent Douglas Chamberlain ’73 on a recent tour. “And all the interior spaces are joined together at corners, instead of by walls and through passageways.” These hallmarks of modernism, along with 50 built-ins, elegant geometric furnishings, Wright’s signature “Cherokee red” palette, and the abundance of natural materials—brick, clay, and the warm glow of Georgian cypress—make this tightly designed 1,600-square-foot home a prime teaching tool. Commissioned by Lucille and Isadore J. Zimmerman ’25, the home is now operated by the Currier Museum; it is the only Wright home open to the public in New England. A prominent pagan-looking hearth anchors the house, a testament, Chamberlain asserts, to Wright’s passionate Celtic heritage. Also clear is Wright’s fascination with things Japanese: his rice-paper lampshades emit soft bedroom light, a painted screen sculpts the living room, and the low dining table, with matching ottoman stools—a sure novelty for any of the Zimmermans’ dinner guests.

(Top) Neva Austrew / Zimmerman House / Currier Museum of Art. (Bottom) J. David Bohl / Zimmerman House / Currier Museum of Art

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