Gropius/Breuer house in Shadyside a stone's throw closer to new life
June 22, 2011 4:00 AM
The Frank House in Shadyside, a 17,000-square-foot home completed in 1940 and designed by architects Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, is being restored. Its owner hopes to turn it into a museum.
By Marylynne Pitz Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Stone masons have begun restoring the exterior of an architecturally significant modern home in Shadyside.
Finished in 1940, it's the largest private residence designed by a famous pair of architects -- Walter Gropius, founder of the revolutionary German design school Bauhaus, and Marcel Breuer, who designed all of the home's furniture.
Alan I W Frank, who owns the house, plans to turn it into a museum.
"We think we can make it look like it did," said Charles "Corky" Cost, whose firm, Cost Co., has been planning the restoration for about 18 months.
Some stones on the home's exterior will have to be replaced because they have cracked or chipped, Mr. Cost said. Restoring the original pink buff color of the kasota stone required the development of a proprietary process by Mr. Frank, who said he traveled to the Minnesota mine where the stone was originally quarried to find replacement stone. Work on the exterior will last about four months.
The home was built for Mr. Frank's late parents, Robert Frank, co-founder of Copperweld Steel Co., and his wife, Cecelia, an ardent supporter of the arts. The property features sculptured walls, sweeping staircases, massive travertine marble fireplaces, four terraces, a dining room that seats 24 and a swimming pool.