For Immediate ReleaseMay 06, 2016
Marin County accepts donated replica made from original 1950s plans
San Rafael, CA – The most famous doghouse in the world? Probably Snoopy’s. But now, through a generous donation, the County of Marin has acquired a real doghouse designed by one of the best-known architects in American history, Frank Lloyd Wright. It will be displayed May 10 during the Marin County Board of Supervisors meeting.
Berger grew up in San Anselmo in a Wright-designed home that today is widely known as the Berger House. His parents, Robert (Bob) and Gloria Berger, commissioned Wright to design the house in 1950-51, and it was built to specifications by Bob Berger over the course of 20 years. Wright also designed a triangular doghouse on the back of an envelope – at no charge – when Jim Berger, then 12 years old, wrote to Wright and requested plans. Wright’s staff completed formal plans for the doghouse and sent them to the Bergers.
Bob Berger built the first doghouse in the late 1950s, but it was disposed of in 1968. Bob Berger died in 1973 and Gloria showed off the San Anselmo home proudly until her death in 2011. Jim Berger, by then a retired cabinet maker living outside of Sacramento, received permission that year to build a new doghouse with the original plans to be shown in a documentary film about Wright.
“As a lifelong Marinite, I had heard tales of the doghouse designed by Mr. Wright but never was able to see the original construction,” said Sandra Fawn, Vice-Chair of the Civic Center Conservancy. “I am thrilled that Jim Berger rebuilt Eddie's House and is graciously donating it to Marin County. Perhaps this one-of-a-kind design by Mr. Wright will be an inspiration to young future architects.”
The vast blue-roofed headquarters of the County of Marin government was designed in the late 1950s by Wright and built in the early 1960s; Wright died in 1959. The Civic Center is a National Historic Landmark and is one of a collection of 10 of Wright buildings across the country that has been nominated by the United States to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.
Tentative plans are in the works to have the doghouse be shown at a future Marin County Fair and other special exhibitions, such as the Civic Center Library. Staff will work with the Conservancy to protect and preserve the doghouse in order for it to be shown publically at the Civic Center, similar to the Civic Center Campus model in the first floor mall of the Civic Center.
Jim Berger plans to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting starting at 9 a.m. May 10 in the Civic Center Board chamber, Suite 330, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. He will be available for media interviews for a short time after the Board presentation. Media members interested in interviewing Berger should email County Public Information Officer Brent Ainsworth at email@example.com or call 415-473-3084.
David SpeerFacilities Planning & Development ManagerCounty Administrator's Office
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite #325San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6016Email: David SpeerCounty Administrator website