Journey to Auldbrass



David De Long, in his book Auldbrass: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Southern Plantation, writes

Although Frank Lloyd Wright designed over 1,000 projects during his long and prolific career, Auldbrass in Yemassee (pronounced YEM-uh-see), South Carolina, is the only plantation among them. It is also one of the largest and most complex projects he ever undertook. Wright had an unusually intense commitment to Auldbrass and worked on it, off and on, for over twenty years from 1938 until his death in 1959. Because Auldbrass was in private hands and fell into disrepair in the 1960s after the owners’ death, it was rarely seen or published and, as a consequence, little has been known about this major work.

In 1986 film producer Joel Silver bought Auldbrass, and with the help of Eric Lloyd Wright, the grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright, he has meticulously restored this stunning architectural gem. Now, with the completed restoration, we have a rare opportunity to see one of Wright’s greatest works, as the master himself originally envisioned it.

In arrangement with Joel Silver, the Beaufort County Open Land Trust opens Auldbrass for only one weekend every two years, which is the only opportunity for the public to see this magnificent site.

The Auldbrass Plantation consists of over 20 buildings designed by Wright, including the main house, kennels, stables, barn and various outbuildings. The original owner, C. Leigh Stevens, called on Wright to design a self-sufficient modern plantation for farming, hunting, and entertaining.

In keeping with his theories of organic architecture, Wright designed Auldbrass to be in harmony with the landscape of which it is a part. Constructed of native cypress boards laid diagonally at 80 degree angles and held by brass screws, the exterior is intended to conform to the lean of indigenous live oak trees, while the abstract forms of ornamental rainspouts suggest hanging clumps of Spanish moss.

In 1987, the plantation was purchased by Joel Silver, an ardent admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright, and he has meticulously completed the majority of Wright’s original plan (including several buildings that were designed by Wright but never completed). Auldbrass is a great 20th century architectural treasure and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The beautiful book, Auldbrass: Frank Lloyd Wright's Southern Plantation
by David G. De Long, will be available for purchase from
Beaufort County Open Land Trust during our tour.

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