PHOENIX – The final residential gem designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, known as the Norman Lykes House, sold for $1,677,500 at a public auction Oct. 16. Sale of the iconic home, nicknamed the Circular Sun House, was handled by Heritage Auctions.
The 3,095-square-foot home, tucked into 1.3 acres on the edge of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, was the last home Wright worked on before his death in 1959. The winning bid came from an unidentified out-of-state buyer who plans to keep the residence intact and use it as a vacation home.
Sale of the mid-century modern estate, commissioned by Norman and Aimee Lykes and completed by Wright’s apprentice, John Rattenbury, in 1967, drew worldwide media coverage.
The mountainous terrain provided inspiration for the design and layout of the home. Wright used a series of overlapping and intersecting circles and arcs, allowing the home to merge with the curves of the cliffs and boulders into which it was built. Many of the projects that Wright designed during the 1950s explored the use of geometric forms, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The home was designed shortly before the opening of the Guggenheim.
One fascinating design characteristic of the home is the windows never receive direct sunlight, yet the interior remains bathed in natural light.
In addition to the three bedrooms, the residence includes three bathrooms, two living areas and an office on the second floor with 360-degree views. A garden terrace features an indoor wet bar and pool with a fountain lined with mother of pearl. As with many of Wright’s homes, Philippine mahogany is seen throughout.
The home is built of concrete blocks colored to blend with the boulders surrounding it. Each block was carried by hand to avoid disturbing the desert surrounding the home.