The Currier Museum of Art has recently acquired two exceptional homes designed by the iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright, solidifying its unique status as the only museum in the world with such a remarkable collection. The latest addition is the Toufic H. Kalil Usonian Automatic House, a 1,406-square-foot residence located in Manchester's North End, purchased for $970,000 on November 15.
Alan Chong, the museum's executive director, expressed excitement about the acquisition, stating, "We are the only museum in the world with two Frank Lloyd Wright houses, which we will open and make accessible to the public and preserve in perpetuity." The museum had already owned the Zimmerman House, another Wright-designed residence on Heather Street, just a few doors away from the Kalil House, for the past 30 years. Together, they stand as the only two Wright-designed homes in the state.
The Kalil House, listed on October 9, attracted significant attention, with 150 interested buyers expressing their interest. After receiving several offers, the museum emerged as the chosen buyer. The residence, completed in 1957 and previously owned by the Kalil family until last year, became part of the museum's collection with the support of an anonymous donor. Chong explained, "Our donor came forward with two goals, to preserve a great Frank Lloyd Wright residence and make sure it is accessible to the public for educational goals."
Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig celebrated the occasion, describing it as a historic day for the city. She emphasized the importance of preserving the property and making it accessible to the public, expressing gratitude for the opportunity.
The Kalil House was built by Toufic and Mildred Kalil, with Toufic being a Lebanese immigrant and a family doctor who later founded Elliot Hospital's radiology department. As one of only seven of Wright's Usonian Automatic houses ever constructed, the residence represents Wright's vision of designing affordable homes for post-war Americans with a streamlined lifestyle.
The interior features exposed blocks constituting a quarter of the walls, complemented by Philippine mahogany paneling and book-sized window panes. Many original features, including furniture, charcoal grill, and a vintage vacuum-tube radio, remain intact and are part of the sale. The museum plans to commence tours of the house in April.
Steve Duprey, president of the museum's Board of Trustees, highlighted the distinct styles of the two Wright-designed homes and expressed optimism about enhancing the Currier's presence in the art world. Looking ahead, Chong envisions a diverse range of activities hosted at the museum, including meetings, art classes, seminars, wine tastings, and other innovative programs.