Up for auction in May, the Winton Guest House was the project a young Frank Gehry used to further develop his deconstructionism.
From above, the whimsical structure looks like the final submission from a team of grade-school architects, toy blocks and Seussical structural analysis at play. A sculpture and architectural experiment with shapes clad in stone, Finnish plywood, and lead-coated copper, the 1987 Winton Guest House was the playful creation of a then on-the-rise architect named Frank Gehry. Designed for Mike and Penny Winton, Minneapolis residents who needed more space than their Philip Johnson-designed brick home could provide, the commission proved a pivotal one for the future Pritzker winner; you can start to see the curves that would would soon ribbon into his signature style. After a series of moves over the last few years—the Wintons sold the property in 2002, and then the new owner donated the guest home to the University of St. Thomas, which moved it 110 miles to Owatonna—it’s now being sold by Wright Auctions on May 19, 2015. Dwell spoke with Richard Wright and a few architectural experts to understand what makes the Winton Guest House such an important creation.