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Wright around the corner from campus

Tour a home built by an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright


World War II was over, but the explosions kept coming, even on the quiet Columbia blufftop known as the East Campus neighborhood. As babies boomed and GIs burst onto campus, MU history Professor David Pinkney and wife Helen launched a project of their own. It was a house designed by the firm of St. Louisan William Bernoudy, who had apprenticed to architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The product, built in 1951, is a work of art that doubles as a dwelling. Bernoudy’s firm built six houses in Columbia (tour one home below).

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Forward-thinking college professors were good prospects for one-of-a-kind houses. With tenure, they’d be sticking around long enough to justify investing in an unusual place that might prove difficult to finance, build and sell. The Pinkneys sold the house a decade later to the late Kate Ellen Rogers, former chair of MU’s housing and interior design department. The current resident is Randy Hill, who works at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., as a long-range planner.

Unlike the carpeted floors and drywall that commonly cover home surfaces, the house offers up the texture of wood as well as the warm light that reflects off it; the feeling of cork underfoot in the foyer; the sense that the almost-flat roof floats above high windows; and more.

More: Check out William Adair Bernoudy, Architect (University of Missouri Press, 1999), which documents the man’s life and work, including his connections to Frank Lloyd Wright. The author is Osmund Overby, professor emeritus of art history and archaeology.

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