ABOUT THE HOUSE
The Clifton and George Lewis II house, now known as Lewis Spring House, is a two-story home designed in the pod hemicycle style, which is important among Wright's designs in that it represents the last and chronologically shortest stylistic phase of his career. In addition, it is the only house that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright built in Florida. It was built in his lifetime under his southeastern representative, Nils Schweizer's supervision as Mr. Wright's liaison. Although the house was originally known as the Mr. & Mrs. George Lewis II House, George named it Spring House, for the natural spring and small stream that flows from the property.
The following description is from the original 1979 application prepared by J. Rodney Little, Historic Preservation Officer with the Florida Division of Archives.
The plan of the house is characterized by both concentric and intersecting circles. The plan of the main bloc is composed of intersecting circles resembling a boat. A circular form intersects the main bloc on its west side and houses the kitchen, bath, heating, plumbing, and ventilation facilities for the house. A wedge-shaped carport extends from the west side of the main bloc and terminates with a storage room. Most of the northern half of the house is clasped by a circular form containing a grass terrace.
The Lewis house exhibits many of the characteristics consistent in Wright's designs. Horizontal lines are emphasized both in the overall composition and in the treatment of surface materials. The circular forms of the plan are echoed in the elevations in the treatment of some windows and fixtures. Surface interest is derived from normally treated and strongly contrasted structural materials.
The house sits on a poured concrete slab with subterranean pilings; red pigment was mixed with the concrete and the smoothly finished slab is exposed as the surface for the first floor. The walls of the first story and the entire height of the utilities core are constructed of “Ocala” limestone/concrete block with deeply raked horizontal joints. The unpainted block is exposed on both interior and exterior surfaces. Almost the entire expanse of the arc on the east side of the house is composed of wood-framed, fixed-plate glass, which rises from the first floor to the two-story ceiling. The second-story overhang and its cantilevered balconies are of wood frame sheathed by red cypress weatherboard; the second story is supported, in part, by 3/4” steel rods suspended from the steel beams of the roof. The frame walls have no interior finish materials, thus exposing the back side of the weatherboarding and the carefully framed studs and plates. The overhanging flat roof is framed with steel beams and cypress rafters and has a built-up surface.
The long horizontal lines of the west or entrance façade of the house are interrupted by a low carport and the circular utility core, which rises approximately 2 feet above the main roof. The windows on the entrance façade are typically Wrightian—relatively small and situated at the top of the wall sections. The windows on the first story are wood-framed inverted circular arches that terminate at the overhanging second story. The windows on the second story are rectangular, wood-framed awning windows that run in a continuous ribbon immediately below the ceiling line.
The east garden façade of the house is composed almost entirely of a curtain wall of fixed plate glass. The wood framing of this glass is articulated primarily by a fixed-glass transom, which is a continuation of the narrow ribbon windows that occur on the second story of the entrance façade. This glass wall is penetrated at its north and south extremities by cantilevered balconies on the second story.
The main entry is situated under the carport roof and immediately to the north of the utility core. The wood-framed glass door opens to a landing from which stairs ascend and descend to the first and second floors. Under these stairs another flight descends to a small circular cellar that houses the oil furnace forced-air system and some storage space.
The first-floor space is entirely open except for the partial enclosure of the circular kitchen. Spatial definition is provided by the walls of the kitchen, the circular fireplace hood, the ceiling under the second-story space, and the built-in dining table and the living room bench. Primary seating in the living room is adjacent to the fireplace on a low wood seat that runs the entire length of the west wall. This area is provided a strong sense of enclosure by the low ceiling under the second story, but the vista is toward a two-story space and the glass “rear” wall. A pair of tall wood-framed, glazed double doors lead from this living space to the terrace on the east side.
Access to the bedrooms, bathrooms, and exterior balconies on the second floor is along a narrow balcony that overlooks a portion of the living room glass wall. Two small bathrooms are located within the circular utility core and are lighted from above by a “bubble” skylight. The master bedroom is immediately to the south of the bathrooms and has a circular hooded fireplace. Next, to the south, is a smaller bedroom; this is followed by a larger bedroom originally intended for three children, with direct access to the exterior balcony at the south end of the house. Interior decorative interest is provided by the natural colors, textures and arrangement of the exposed structural materials. Only the ceilings are plastered, and these are unpainted. All doors and operable windows are hung with exposed brass piano hinges; all other hardware is also of brass. All lighting fixtures are within 9” square boxes recessed in the ceilings and covered by frosted glass with wood lath frames.
A circular terraced area was established on the east side and north end of the exterior. However, a low block wall intended to enclose the terrace and a semi-circular pool were never completed.
DO THE WRIGHT THING !
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Registration # CH31369
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.