After his death in 1959, following an illustrious, 70-year career during which he designed upwards of 1000 structures and completed over 500 buildings, Frank Lloyd Wright was recognised by the AIA as the “greatest American architect of all time.” He was, by all accounts, a true master of his craft. His smallest and perhaps most unusual project came in 1956, and began with a letter from Jim Berger, the 12-year-old son of a previous client of Wright’s. The youngster’s request was simple: he wanted to commission the design of a house for his dog, Eddie; one which would complement the family home. Incredibly, Wright agreed and supplied a full set of drawings for “Eddie’s House” the next year. Construction on this tiny piece of architectural history was eventually completed by Jim’s father in 1963.
June 19, 1956
Dear Mr. Wright
I am a boy of twelve years. My name is Jim Berger. You designed a house for my father whose name is Bob Berger. I have a paper route which I make a little bit of money for the bank, and for expenses.
I would appreciate it if you would design me a dog house, which would be easy to build, but would go with our house. My dog’s name is Edward, but we call him Eddie. He is four years old or in dog life 28 years. He is a Labrador retriever. He is two and a half feet high and three feet long. The reasons I would like this dog house is for the winters mainly. My dad said if you design the dog house he will help me build it. But if you design the dog house I will pay you for the plans and materials out of the money I get from my route.
A house for Eddie is an opportunity. Someday I shall design one but just now I am too busy to concentrate on it. You write me next November to Phoenix, Arizona and I may have something then.
Frank Lloyd Wright
June 28th, 1956
Dear Mr Wright
I wrote you June 19, 1956 about designing my dog Eddie a dog house to go with the house you designed for my dad. You told me to write you again in November so I ask you again, could you design me a dog house.