June 01, 2000

Honeycomb House

Text and Photographs © 2000 by Tom Horton

This house was built for a Stanford University professor. It was eventually given to the university and used for the Provost's residence, then became a guest house and reception center. The Hanna House was heavily damaged in the 1989 earthquake and was closed for a $3 million restoration. It reopened in 1999 and tours are given twice a month.

Front Porch (below)
The brickwork in the foreground shows the attention to detail with which Wright executed his themes. The mortar in the horizontal joints is recessed about an inch, while the vertical joints are flush. Sunlight on these creates shadows of long, horizontal lines which reinforce the many other such lines in the house design.

Patio View (below)
Looking 90 degrees left of the previous view one sees the waterfall, one of three great oaks, and the guest house. Note the shadows on the brickwork. The hill continues to rise to the right, in keeping with Wright's belief that building on top of a hill destroys the hill, while building on the brow of the hill allows the structure and hill to coexist in harmony.

Rear View (below)
Note again the hexagonal plan, reflected in the concrete deck modules. This a a better view of the old oak which towers over the house.

Exterior (below)
The Hanna House sits on the brow of a small hill and is built around three ancient oaks on the property. Photographs of the inside are not allowed.

Waterfall (below)
This beautiful waterfall at the rear of the main house reflects the hexagon pattern on which the entire site is designed. Wright believed that people do not naturally turn 90 degree corners, but prefer 120 degree corners. The hexagon, of course, incorporates six 120-degree angles, and thus virtually every corner on the house and grounds is 120 degrees. (Note another upside-down tree sculpture at the top of the falls.)

Guest House (below)
The guest house, in the rear and a bit higher up on the hill, is where the full-time caretaker now lives. It features the same floor to ceiling sectioned windows as the main house, which, somewhat like French doors, are all hinged and able to open and shut.

Patio (below)
This outdoor cooking shelter was designed by Wright but not built until thirty years later. The foreground sculpture is the root mass of a small tree mounted upside-down, and as such it resembles a miniature tree itself, and mimics the huge oaks on the lot.

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