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  • Writer's pictureTravis Fader

Behind the Sale: The Goetsch-Winckler House

From the Behind The Sale series

HOME NOT FOR SALE

view of Geotsch-Winckler house

©Leavenworth Photographics, Inc.


The Goetsch-Winckler House, located in the town of Okemos, Michigan, embodies Frank Lloyd Wright's revolutionary vision in American domestic architecture. Designed in 1939 for Alma Goetsch and Kathrine Winckler, two art professors from Michigan State College, this home is not only an terrific example of Wright’s Usonian concept but also a favorite project of the Wright himself.


view of Goetsch-Winckler House

©Leavenworth Photographics, Inc.


Wright introduced the Usonian style in the 1930s to address the need for affordable housing without sacrificing aesthetic appeal and functionality. The Goetsch-Winckler House, completed in 1940, is a great representation of this vision, costing just around $6,600 at the time—a modest sum for a groundbreaking design.


view of Goetsch-Winckler House

©Leavenworth Photographics, Inc.


The home is beautifully situated on a 1.7-acre wooded lot, embracing its natural surroundings through Wright’s skillful use of horizontal lines, cantilevered roofs, and seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces. Its layout is cleverly designed to ensure privacy while fostering an intimate connection with the environment. The exterior features horizontal redwood boards interspersed with red brick, enhancing its organic feel.


view of Goetsch-Winckler House

One of the home's distinctive features is its approach: unlike Wright's earlier Usonian homes, which typically faced away from the street, the Goetsch-Winckler House greets visitors with a dramatic entrance at the narrow southeast end. Guests are led through a carport and along a sheltered walkway lined with French doors that open into a light-filled gallery, extending the living space into the front yard.


view of Goetsch-Winckler House

Inside, the central living area combines with the kitchen, and a bedroom wing extends off to one side, maintaining the house’s compact efficiency while offering comfortable living spaces. The integration of the indoors with the outdoors is further achieved through a series of glazed doors along the northeast elevation, providing abundant natural light and views of the verdant exterior.


The Goetsch-Winckler House is more than just a building; it exemplifies modern living with a deep respect for artistic integrity and environmental balance. It highlights Wright's genius in crafting beautiful, functional homes that were accessible to many.


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