LEARN ABOUT THIS UNIQUE ARCHITECTURAL TREASURE AND HOW YOU CAN HELP TO PRESERVE IT.
The Bette and Theodore A. Pappas House is a Frank Lloyd Wright designed Usonian house in Town & Country, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis). The Pappas House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, when it was only 15 years old. It is one of two houses in St. Louis designed by Wright, the only Usonian Automatic in Missouri. Wright designed it between 1955 and 1959 at the Pappas’ request, and Theodore and Bette Pappas built the house together with the help of day laborers between 1960 and 1964.
The Pappas House is a rambling four-bedroom house, and after the Gerald B. and Beverley Tonkens House, is the largest of the Usonian Automatics built. The entire body of the Pappas House, including the roof, is made of plain concrete blocks standardized to a module. These blocks were placed on top of and next to one another with no mortar. The hidden sides of each block had hollows through with steel rods were inserted, running vertically and horizontally, creating a “knit” effect. Grout was used to fill the hollows after the rods were in place. Theoretically, all elements of the house could be manufactured and sent to the owners as a sort of “do-it-yourself” kit, the “automatic” aspect of a Usonian Automatic. However, metal molds for the blocks were not available, and the blocks had to be cast in molds created by local craftsmen. The concrete was tinted according to Wright’s idea that color should be in and not on the surface.
The Pappas House has a warm monochromatic natural earthen color scheme throughout, with original Wright- designed furnishings and rare unstained Philippine mahogany used for uniform trim and its built-in shelving and furniture.