December 12, 2005
Richard Neutras Kraigher House,
a 1937 International Style gem that has been on the verge
of ruin for years, has been granted new life through the combined
efforts of the City of Brownsville, Texas and the local branch
of the University of Texas.
The house was designed for George Kraigher,
a Pan American Airways pilot with a passion for Modern design,
and is believed to be the first International-style house
in Texas. Built of wood and stucco, it contains 1600 square
feet on two levels, with the second story set back to create
a Corbusien roof terrace and ribbon windows throughout. Kraigher
left Brownsville in 1942, and the house began a long, slow
decline into a windowless and nearly roofless hulk.
The city bought it for $150,000 in 1999
and last year received a $150,000 HUD grant towards restoration,
which it is estimated will cost $300,000. The house made the
National Trusts Most Endangered Historic Places list
When restoration is complete, the city
will lease the house to the University of Texas at Brownsville
for a proposed architecture program. The Kraigher House
is the only residence in [the city] with national significance,
says Ambrosio Villareal, founder of Preservation Brownsville.
That's why it is so important to restore it.