We had the pleasure of touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Auldbrass Plantation last week with the Beaufort County Open Land Trust‘s biannual tours. Some of the office had visited before, and for others of us, it was a first. It is quite impressive, both the original design, as well as the efforts undertaken by the current owner to realize Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision. Auldbrass is one of two Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs in South Carolina, the other is Broad Margin in Greenville, South Carolina (you can read about our visit to Broad Margin here).

Auldbrass seems to belong among the live oaks and spanish moss. Though it is a sprawling estate, the buildings are unassuming and quiet in a way that pays homage to the peacefulness of the cypress lake by which it sits. All the exterior walls slope to mirror the angles of the surrounding oaks. Many of the details are typical of Wright’s designs, such as his signature color, Taliesin red, and the hexagonal motifs throughout the property. Others are unique to Auldbrass and reflect the specific site, such as the copper downspouts designed to represent the spanish moss. The Auldbrass ‘logo’ is a design that is derived from the Yemassee Indians of the area. The form is common for our area; one room thick to encourage daylighting and ventilation with high ceilings to allow the heat to rise. The kitchen was originally located in a separate building from the sleeping and living areas, which is historically typical in our area, both to contain heat from cooking and lessen the impact of a potential kitchen fire. The house was retrofitted with cooling capabilities, but it would have been fairly comfortable without, even with our hot, humid summers. The concrete floors were originally heated, a feature that is no longer used today.

In addition to the main house, the grounds have extensive gardens, a swimming pool, stables, barns, a guest bedroom building, and various cottages. The owner has plans to build a two story guest house and a canal from the pool to the lake with a dinner barge.

Auldbrass

Much of the furniture throughout the house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The cars belonged to a fleet of Taliesin red cars that were customized to his specifications.