As I wrote about in detail back in January, after the ‘romantic solution” of saving a flood-battered Frank Wright Lloyd-designed home by relocating it from Millstone, N.J., to Tuscany (yes, Tuscany) was shelved, Crystal Bridges, a new-ish contemporary art museum in Walmart, USA Bentonville Ark. that “celebrates the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature,” stepped up to the plate and purchased the 1954 home with plans to completely deconstruct and rebuild it on its bucolic 120-acre campus in northwest Arkansas. 

Aside from a new and somewhat unlikely connection between Walmart and America’s most celebrated architect/scoundrel, the whole scenario came across as commendably bold —and a bit bonkers — especially when taking into consideration the logistics involved with painstakingly dismantling an architecturally significant Usonian-style home piece by piece, trucking it to the Ozarks, and rebuilding it (one would presume in safe distance from any flood-prone rivers or creeks) on the grounds of a free-to-the-public art museum (thanks, Alice Walton!).

But as evidenced by the folks at Crystal Bridges (h/t to Curbed), the highly complicated process behind relocating the nearly 3,000-square-foot Bachman Wilson House — “a work of art in simplicity and form, representing Wright’s organic design philosophy" writes the museum of the home — has gone off without a hitch. Do check out the videos embedded below for an inside look at the first and perhaps most vital stage in the move: deconstruction. Presumably, more videos will be published when the time comes to reconstruct given that the museum has done an outstanding job of documenting the move thus far. 

On that note, the home and its contents, carefully packed away in two separate shipping containers, arrived safely and soundly in Lowell, Ark. late last week. One container made its way to the Natural State in traditional intermodal style via a mix of rail and road; the other made the 1,235 mile trip across six states (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and finally, Arkansas) purely by truck. Now in the possession of J.B. Hunt Transport, the firm that carried out the immensely complicated move gratis, the home will be moved to a hangar at Northwest Arkansas Regional where it will remain in storage until the build site at Crystal Bridges is ready.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, site work at Crystal Bridges will be complete by this July with the complete rebuilding of the Bachman Wilson house — the first Wright-designed building in Arkansas, even though technically a Jersey transplant —  due to be completed at some point in the spring of 2015. And once ready to go and open to the public, the home will be “available for study as well as for limited programming and tours” according to the museum.


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Dismantled Wright residence survives epic road trip to Arkansas
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas shares videos documenting the careful dismantling of a Frank Lloyd Wright home in New Jersey.