The only dwelling designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Tennessee is the Shavin House in Chattanooga. In 1949 newlyweds Gerte and Seamour Shavin contacted Frank Lloyd Wright to design a home for them on Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga. Wright (1870-1959), one of the most prominent architects of the twentieth century, developed a house plan based on his vision of a democratic America that appreciated and respected nature. The result was a “Usonian” house that simplified the building process by eliminating excessive labor, materials, and spaces. His Usonian houses utilized native materials and featured open, flowing plans that were often based on a grid. The use of open spaces and large windows allowed for natural heating and cooling, as well as expansive views of the property surrounding the house.
Wright never visited the site of the Shavins’ house, completed in 1952. Marvin Bachman, an apprentice of Wright, supervised the construction. Both the exterior and interior of the house use red cypress and Tennessee Crab Orchard stone. A focal point of the house is the large stone fireplace in the living room. As in many of Wright’s houses, the Shavins’ Usonian house contains built-ins and furniture designed by Wright, resulting in a unified design scheme. Its construction from native materials in an expansive setting overlooking Chattanooga makes the Shavin house a model Usonian house.