Turkel House
You can find a lot of information on the internet on this home but here is a brief rundown.

HISTORY: The Dorothy H. Turkel House is a private residence located in central Detroit, Michigan, within the Palmer Woods neighborhood. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and completed in 1958.

The house is the only Wright-designed building within the city limits of Detroit and the only two story built Usonian (an acronym for United States of North America) design known as Usonian Automatics, inexpensive houses aimed at middle class homeowners who could assemble the structures for as little as $5,000.00. However, the Turkel house is neither small (4300 sq ft) nor inexpensive.

The primary medium for the home is a series of precast concrete blocks reinforced with rebar (steel rods). The interior walls and floors consist of concrete slabs which were stained red.

Mrs. Turkel lived in the house until 1978, and then sold it to Loretta Benbow, who secured historic designation for the property. In the subsequent 25 years the home frequently changed hands and suffered serious neglect.

A NEW LIFE: The house was purchased in 2006 by two local business owners who spent the next two years restoring the home at the cost of over a million dollars! They unearthed original drawings and historical documents to guide them in the reconstruction and restoration.

THE LEGO MODEL: The house first came to my attention when I saw a poster for a Palmer Woods Garden Tour at the greenhouse where I work in 2013. In Jan 2014 I started by working from pictures I found on the internet. Thankfully there were a lot of detailed pictures from people at the auction of the house. I have never been to the house (which I hope to rectify soon!).

The finished model was built and developed over two years (some of which was spent waiting for parts and/or inspiration!). It is 30”x60” in size, over 50,000 LEGO elements, 150 Mini Fig’s at the Garden Party (!), and I have roughly (best guess) 2500 hours into the project (let us NOT talk about the $$!).

The interior is finished (except for the private quarters on the second floor) including all the FLW built in furniture and shelving; LED's are used for the lighting. I used the same 2x2 windows (as the exterior) except in white for all the interior ceilings to simulate how the house is actually lit. The construction of the model uses ‘stacked’ bricks to represent the stacked concrete blocks (a real structural challenge!).

All 16 of the patio doors are brick built and can open and close. FLW designed VERY narrow doors, no more than two feet wide and 7-8 feet tall. He felt that everything a homeowner would need was already built into the house and all they had to bring in was food and clothing!

I also tried to do some justice to a portion of the fabulous landscaping and art that the new owners have installed.

I was limited to LEGO colors and elements; as a result the model is tan (instead of light grey – windows are not available in lt grey); the Medium Blue I used for the opening windows and patio doors is a little bright (sand blue would have been a better choice but also not available); the windows can’t be modeled ‘open’; the patio furniture would have been ideal in sand blue, alas no parts! Oh Well!

There are also some areas that I didn't have good pictures of so I had to take some artistic license. Overall, I hope I did both FLW and the new owners proud!
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