Samara (house)

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Christian, John E. and Catherine E., House
Samara (John E Christian House) Entrance.jpg
Samara (house) is located in Indiana
Samara (house)
Location West Lafayette, Indiana
Coordinates 40°26′18.8″N 86°54′59.6″W / 40.438556°N 86.916556°W / 40.438556; -86.916556Coordinates: 40°26′18.8″N 86°54′59.6″W / 40.438556°N 86.916556°W / 40.438556; -86.916556
Built 1956
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Woods
Architectural style Modern Movement
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 92000679 [1]
Added to NRHP June 16, 1992

Samara, also known as the John E. Christian House, is a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright located in West Lafayette, Indiana. The home is an example of the Usonian homes that Wright designed. Samara was built from 1954 to 1956 and is still occupied by the original owner, John E. Christian.[2][3][4]


The lounge features extensive built-ins and bright colors.

In 1950 John and Kay Christian decided to build a home near Purdue University where they both worked, John as a pharmaceutical chemistry professor and Kay as the social director for the university.[3][4] After much discussion they decided that Wright was the architect who suited the ideals for their home.[3][4] Not knowing how to proceed, John phoned Wright directly at his office and was surprisingly able to speak directly to the famed architect.[3][4] Over the next six years they worked together both with meetings in West Lafayette, Indiana and at Taliesin, Wright's summer home in Spring Green, Wisconsin.[5] [3][4]The home was named after the samara which Wright spotted on the property during his first visit.[3][4] He worked a stylized design of chevron-shaped leaves throughout the design of the home including the clerestory windows, dining chairs and the living room rug.[3][4]

The Christian family maintains the home according to the exacting specifications of its architect.[3][4] As in many homes of Wright's design, the architect specified or designed the entire environment including the furniture, linens and landscaping.[3][4] Upon moving into the home, the Christians were not able to purchase all of the specified custom details at first; however they made an agreement with Wright to continue adding to the home as budget allowed.[3][4]

The color palette of furniture and design details is brighter and more saturated than other examples of Wright's architecture. This was prompted by Kay Christian who requested brighter colors against Wright's wishes. Wright was finally convinced by his wife, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, who insisted that she would help the Christians with the color design.[6] The result was a palette of vibrant lime green, magenta, and purple combined with more subdued shades of orange, yellow, and beige (see image at left).


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ Wallace J. Rogers (2001). Frank Lloyd Wright's Samara Winged Seeds of Indiana. John E. Christian Family Memorial Trust. ISBN 1-931775-00-1. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Cindy Davis Meixel (January 2014). "Building the Wright Dream". Mountain Home Magazine. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j National Park System Advisory Board. "Samara (John E. and Catherine E. Christian House)". National Park Service. 
  5. ^ Tsujioka, Terry (2007). "Growing Up And Growing Old In The Prairie Style". American Bungalow: 70–79. 
  6. ^ George Pudlo (January 2, 2012). "John Christian House - SAMARA - Frank Lloyd Wright, 1954". Wright Oak Park Tours. Mrs. Christian insisted on having brighter colors in the house that Wright originally proposed. Olgivanna Wright finally convinced Wright to adjust the color palette by offering her assistance to Mrs. Christian with hue. 

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