In Memoriam: Larry Woodin, Wright Expert and Historic Preservationist
Photo by Joel Hoglund
Photo by Joel Hoglund
Larry Woodin, an internationally-known Frank-Lloyd Wright expert known for his involvement in last-minute saves of several important Wright buildings, died July 22, 2021, after a brief illness. Larry, who lived in the Seattle area, graduated from the University of Washington with a Masters in Architecture.
Larry served on the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s Board of Directors since 2002, including roles as president from 2011 – 2013 and Vice President from 2010 – 2011 and most recently serving as Second Vice President. From its inception, the Conservancy has played an indispensable role in the preservation of Wright’s remaining built works.
Larry’s work for the Conservancy garnered much attention. Among many special projects, he led the successful effort to save the David and Gladys Wright House in Phoenix, Arizona–which Wright designed for one his children–a story which played out on the front page of the New York Times. Less well known, but as significant, was his role in saving the Ennis House in Los Angeles.
Earlier, Larry was instrumental in the effort to save the Gordon House, the only Wright structure in the state of Oregon. As a result of Larry’s efforts, the house was moved within a three-month deadline to its present site near the Oregon Garden in Silverton. Soon after, he authored the book The Gordon House: A Moving Experience (2002). His other works include numerous professional articles and speeches.
Larry became fascinated with the world of Frank Lloyd Wright and his architecture when he was in seventh grade. He enjoyed recounting the awakening of his architectural interest when, as a young boy, he traveled with his family to visit friends’ interesting lake houses during beautiful northwestern summers. He received his master of architecture degree from the University of Washington and maintained an award-winning independent practice, including the design of several Washington area houses, for over 30 years.
Larry’s fascination with Frank Lloyd Wright’s work led to his career-long association with the three Wright-designed homes in Washington State. Larry worked with original homeowners Chauncey L. and Johanna Griggs on their home in Tacoma (now Lakewood), Bill and Elizabeth Tracy in Normandy Park, and Jack Cullen, stepson of Ray Brandes, in Bellevue (now Sammamish). As the years passed and his knowledge deepened, he cared for the homes and became abiding friends of the families as well. Larry continued to oversee the care of these architectural treasures as the homes transitioned to other family members or were sold. He was always welcomed to the homes as both an architectural advisor and friend.
Vancouver, British Columbia-based architect Arthur Erickson’s work was also an area of interest and study for Larry, who developed a friendship with Erickson in the senior architect’s later years. For much of 2020 and 2021, Larry oversaw renovations to the Bagley and Virginia Wright Home, one of Erickson’s notable works, located in the Seattle Highlands.
Larry was founder and director of the EcoHome Foundation. In addition to his extensive work with the Conservancy, he served as an officer and board member of Lakewold Garden and was the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy representative to the board of the Gordon House Conservancy.
In July 2016, Larry celebrated his marriage to longtime partner Andy Mygovych at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Brandes House.
A celebration of Larry’s life will be announced at a later date.
Posted on July 24, 2021