Columbus Convention

American Institute of Building Design

July 29 - August 1, 2014

A Wonderful Day In the Neighborhood: Rush Creek Village

While visiting Taliesin West in 1946 Martha Wakefield, the co-founder of Rush Creek, was approached by Frank Lloyd Wright himself, who told her ‘‘Go home, buy a Jeep and build a house for yourself. Then build a house for your next-door neighbor.''  ''That's what we did,'' she said. ''A lot of neighbors…''

The organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, demonstrated in his Usonian houses, was the major inspiration for Rush Creek Village. Construction began in 1954 with the house of Martha & Richard Wakefield, who then became the builders of the 50+ other homes in the neighborhood as well.

Their residential designer was Theodore van Fossen, who planned the entire community, defining the individual sites and designing all of the original houses. The architectural unity of the project was ensured by the rule that the original owners would receive their deeds only after their plans had been approved by van Fossen.

Houses are adapted to the natural contours of the terrain and take their character from the surrounding environment so that they seem visually rooted in the landscape. Living arrangements provide for an interrelation between interiors and the surrounding natural environment, giving each house unique vistas, and placing them in such a way as to protect the privacy of occupants and neighbors alike.

No other organically designed Usonian community of this size and architectural consistency exists. Each Rush Creek house is unique, but also represents an application of principles common to all. The initial siting of the entire community allows for extended vistas, while the deliberate placement of walls maintains privacy. The community represents a deliberate effort to make excellent architecture available to people of moderate means, while providing an alternative to the standard suburban development. The overall undertaking survives as a remarkable achievement for its time and place.

Rush Creek is on the National Register of Historic Places. Worthington is a suburb of Columbus, OH