The Big Something
1:28 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

RIP Elizabeth Wright Ingraham

We were saddened last week to learn of the death of famed local architect Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, who was 91. Her homes in the Pikes Region could very well have defined a regional style if design were valued as highly as affordability. To be inside her homes is to understand the way architecture can be both imminently practical and inspiring all at once, which is to say that a home is not merely the sum of its square footage and furnishings.

Here are three slide shows we produced about Wright Igraham homes in the Pikes Peak region.

And HERE is a fitting remembrance by Theatreworks Director Murray Ross.

We hope to bring you a longer conversation about her legacy soon.

Local arts maven Kathleen Fox Collins takes us on a tour of what is certainly one of the most interesting and unusual homes in Colorado Springs. It was designed in the 1950s by the husband-and-wife architectural team of Gordon Ingraham and Elizabeth Wright Ingraham (Granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright) for the Mitguard family near the bluffs in Palmer Park. While the structure itself is an interesting example of local mid-20th Century modernism, it's the truly bizarre finish work inside and outside that gives the home its amazing character.

Though her name often leaves lips in the same breath as her grandfather, Frank Lloyd Wright, Wright Ingraham managed deftly managed to craft her own style without rejecting her grandfather's or divorcing herself from the modernist lexicon. "La Casa," pictured in this slide show, perches on the cliffs above Pueblo Reservoir. When it came on the market a few years ago, we couldn't resist a trip to Pueblo to get a first hand look at. Like many of her later homes, it has a characteristic look of simple indestructibility that sets it against the fussy naturalism of her grandfather's work, which often made his homes extraordinarily difficult to maintain. Here's what Architectural Record has to say about "La Casa":

Elizabeth Wright Ingraham sees La Casa as an "intervention" on the landscape, not a "statement." The 5,017-square-foot house sits on a soaring cliff outside Colorado Springs, where winds have been clocked at 110 miles per hour. The continuous erosion of the cliff forced Ingraham to place the house back from the edge, but she recaptured the drama of the steep drop with a 27-foot skywalk cantilevered from the second floor. The skywalk is supported by a 58-foot steel truss that pierces the house and adds drama to an otherwise simple plan. The owners, two doctors, can enter the house from the garage through a protected glass-block-lined corridor. Glazed concrete-block walls, concrete terraces, and radiant-heated floors insulate the interior against the extreme temperature changes throughout the day. A rooftop entertainment deck over the study keeps parties free of the rattlesnakes ruling the natural terrain.

"Solaz," built for the artist Dawn Wilde and her husband.