The Conservancy is saddened to share the news that Eric Lloyd Wright has died. He was a strong advocate for the preservation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s built works, and his contributions to the Conservancy’s mission were recognized with an appointment as an Honorary Board member. He received a Wright Spirit Award in 1996, was involved in the Conservancy’s 2005 annual conference in Los Angeles and contributed his time and knowledge to numerous preservation projects. He will be missed. The obituary below, shared by the Organic Architecture + Design Archives, has been approved by the family for publication.
Eric Lloyd Wright, 93, passed away peacefully at home on March 13th, 2023, at 8:06pm. Born November 8th, 1929, to Lloyd Wright and Helen (Taggart), Eric was the grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright, the most significant American architect of the 20th Century.
Eric grew up in the landmark West Hollywood home & studio designed by his father. With his brother Rupert 10 years older, the boys explored the open countryside beyond their neighborhood. From an easy walk to the Pacific Electric Railway, they could board its trains taking them across the Los Angeles basin, to the beach, or mountains.
Not initially interested in architecture, Eric began following his father’s career path after a summer at his grandfather’s farm. Graduating Hollywood High School in 1946, Eric returned to apprentice under his grandfather at Taliesin, Wright’s architecture school & firm in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and Scottsdale, Arizona, from 1948 until 1952. Drafted into the Korean War, Eric would serve as a conscientious objector in the medical corps, returning to Taliesin afterward. Eric worked on several of his grandfather’s masterpieces at Taliesin, including the Guggenheim Museum (New York, New York), Monona Terrace (Madison, Wisconsin), and the Walker Residence (Carmel, California).
In 1956, Eric returned to Los Angeles to work in his father’s architectural practice. At this time, Lloyd’s most famous building, Wayfarer’s Chapel (Palos Verdes, California) was under construction; Eric would later marry Mary McDonnell there in 1962. Earning his architecture license in 1967, Eric would work with Lloyd until his father’s death in 1978, launching his own practice afterward. That practice grew to become Eric Lloyd Wright & Associates Architecture & Planning, on land Lloyd Wright had purchased above Malibu, California.
According to Alan Hess, author, architect and biographer of Lloyd Wright, “Eric Lloyd Wright’s long career demonstrates the fertile and creative legacy of organic modern architecture in America. Like his father and grandfather, his architecture was never an imitative ‘style’, but a profound exploration of its ongoing possibilities growing from fundamental ideas. Eric understood those principles so well. His active commitment to protecting this legacy, particularly in defending his father’s works, is another tribute to the impact of his life and work.”
Among Eric Lloyd Wright’s buildings of note are the Silver Lake, California, house for his brother Rupert Pole and his companion, writer Anais Nin; the Thatcher Office “Pyramid Building” (Glendale, California); the Wystrach-Adams Residence (La Crescenta, California); the Newman Subdivision for the children of film composer Alfred Newman, including the Fred Newman residence, and Maria Newman residence (Malibu, California); a Limited remodel, skylight canopy, & block additions for Minato Mirai Mid Square The Tower Residence (Yokohama, Japan); and “Santaranta” Residence & Guest House (Heinola, Finland).
Eric’s extensive career also included a wide range of restoration work on Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, including his patented “textile block” houses, and Lloyd Wright buildings in the Los Angeles area. One of Eric’s largest-scale restoration projects was of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Auldbrass Plantation” (Yemassee, South Carolina) with Wright aficionado and film producer Joel Silver, who had also engaged Eric in the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Storer House (Hollywood, California).
Eric was a dedicated advocate for his family’s legacy of organic architecture. Gentle of spirit, and generous with his time and knowledge, he was much sought after as a lecturer and expert on the subject. He served on several Wright-related organization’s boards, and founded his own Wright Organic Resource Center in Malibu, California, which sponsored annual hands-on organic architecture workshops to promote the importance of ecological sustainability in architecture. Eric also arranged and conducted study-tours for UCLA Extension students & architecture tour groups to experience buildings by the three generations of Wrights, and other exponents of organic architecture like John Lautner.
Eric is survived by his wife Mary McDonnell Wright and their two sons; Devon Wright (wife Tree Leyburn Wright and their daughter Rhiannon Wright) of Oak View, California; and Cory Wright (partner Kay Peterson) of Oakland, California.
A memorial service will be planned later.
Posted March 27, 2023