Nestled in the Hagerman Valley sits the only structure in Idaho designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Known as Teater’s Knoll, this artist retreat was built in 1952.
Henry Whiting II has owned the building since 1982. He’s spent years lovingly restoring the space, which had fallen into disrepair. He’s also researched the house, and its original owners, extensively. He plans to share his story of Teater’s Knoll at a talk in Boise Saturday night, put on by Idaho Modern, a part of Preservation Idaho.
Whiting says the studio sits 300 feet above the Snake River, between Bliss and Hagerman.
“The main studio room is quite a large room,” says Whiting, “and it’s meant as a place to create art, it’s not meant as a home per se.”
The one-room studio is very dramatic.
“It has a sloping roof that gently slopes up from the front door to what we call 'the prow,' and the windowsills all slope up with the roof and it creates a very dramatic, uplifting sort of a space.”
It’s called Teater’s Knoll after the original owner, Archie Boyd Teater, who convinced Wright to design his studio on a cliff above the Snake River.
“Because Archie had grown up in the Hagerman Valley and was an artist, he knew the prime spot to choose.”
Whiting says there are river rapids on both sides of the house.
“The sound of the rapids permeates the house in the summer time. If it was a little bit warmer, I would have some of the awning windows open and the whole studio would be filled with the sound of the river, which is exactly what Frank Lloyd Wright wanted because his architecture was so connected with nature.”
Whiting has written two books about Teater’s Knoll and spends a lot of his time keeping the house in good repair.
“I’m constantly taking care of the house. It takes quite a bit of work to keep it in good shape and I have enjoyed every minute of it. It is a bit of an effort to take care of it, but it sure is rewarding in the end.”
He’ll go into more detail about Teater’s Knoll Saturday night. Idaho Modern, which is part of Preservation Idaho, is putting his talk on at the Immanuel Lutheran Church on Fort Street in Boise at 7 p.m.
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