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In architectural circles, the town of Owatonna, Minn. is best known for its extraordinary Louis Sullivan bank, a design whose mastery of color and ornament remains as fresh today as it was when the bank was completed in 1908.

Now, Owatonna is home to a second architectural jewel–a Frank Gehry-designed home, the Winton Guest House, which was originally built on in the suburbs of Minneapolis and has since been moved to the University of St. Thomas in the town.

Writing about the house when the move was announced in 2008, Architectural Record magazine observed: “Gehry’s innovative yet playful 2,300-square-foot house is composed of a series of diminutive spaces clustered together under various sculptural forms: a pryramidal roof defines an atrium, a wedge-shaped space shelters the bedroom and bath, a curving trapezoid shapes an office, a cube encloses a cozy fireplace alcove, and a rectangle encloses the kitchen and garage.”


Blair Kamin
Chicago Tribune


Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Charnley-Persky House (image via

Next month, the very first sunken conversation pit will open to the public as a museum. The Indianapolis Museum of Art plans to open a private residence designed by Eero Saarinen for industrialist J. Irwin Miller as a design and architecture showcase, featuring interiors (and the conversation pit) by Alexander Girard.

To celebrate, we’ve collected the best of American’s modernist houses turned museums, magnificent private residences now made public. There’s Philip Johnson’s Glass House, of course, but also Richard Neutra’s Neutra VDL, Louis Sullivan’s early Charnley-Persky House and Richard Meier’s epic bachelor pad, the Rachofsky House.


Kyle Chayka