Toufic H. Kalil House - Manchester, NH
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
N 43° 01.298 W 071° 27.916
19T E 299126 N 4766166
Quick Description: An example of Wright's Usonian Automatic style, this simple, concrete block house was built in the 1950's near the end of his life, for Dr. Kalil.
Location: New Hampshire, United States
Date Posted: 4/2/2012 6:37:02 PM
Waymark Code: WME4K5
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Hikenutty
Views: 31

Long Description:

Secluded on a side street in northern Manchester, New Hampshire, this simple house is set in a quiet lot of trees and small lawn, with much of the house not visible from the street. It remains a private home and is not open to tours. Another example of Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian style is the nearby Zimmerman House.

The following discussion and description are from the Architecture: Frank Lloyd Wright at

Frank Lloyd Wright used the term Usonian Automatic to describe the design of economical Usonian style houses constructed of modular concrete blocks. The home of Dr. Toufic Kalil in Manchester, New Hampshire illustrates Wright's creative use of this inexpensive material.

Typical of Wright's Usonian style, the Kalil house draws its beauty from simple, linear forms rather than ornamental details. Symmetrical rows of rectangular window openings give the heavy concrete a sense of airiness.

Usonian houses were always one story, with no basements or attics. The interior rooms formed a linear arrangement, with the fireplace and the kitchen near the center. Perched on top of a hill, Frank Lloyd Wright's Kalil house appears to be larger than it really is.

Frank Lloyd Wright called homes like this "automatic" because they used preformed concrete blocks that buyers could assemble themselves. The blocks were usually 16 inches wide and 3 inches thick. They could be placed in a variety of configurations and secured using a "knit block" system of steel rods and grout.

The floor was made of concrete slabs, typically in a grid of four-foot squares. Pipes carrying heated water ran beneath the floor and provided radiant heat. Frank Lloyd Wright believed that the home should provide an escape from the world outside. The entry door of the Kalil house is set in a nearly solid wall of concrete block. Light filters into the house through narrow windows. The windows, wall openings, and embossed insets in the concrete blocks make the masonry seem light and airy. The Kalil house has no large windows. Light filters into the house through high clerestory windows and fixed glass inserts set into the concrete blocks. Some of these glass panels have been converted into casement windows to provide ventilation.

Usonian houses did not have garages. To economize on building costs, Frank Lloyd Wright designed these homes with open-air carports. At the Kalil house, the carport is attached to the main house, like the foot of an L. The half wall of the carport offers views of the lawn and garden.

In 1955, the Boston Globe published an interesting article entitled, Dr. Toufic H. and Mildred Kalil Residence, Manchester, NH (1955) which contains portions of an interview with John Kalil, a retired civil engineer, who was 89 at the time and had lived in the house for fifteen years. There are additional photos, including the interior and a detached in-law house that can't bee seen from the street.

The house was later listed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy for 1.8 million dollars.

The Steiner Agency also has a fine article about this house with additional details about conservation and more photos, the floor plan, and an extensive bibliography for further research.

Year Completed: 1955

Commissioned By: Toufic H. Kalil

Nearest City or Town: Manchester, New Hampshire

Public/Private: Private

Tours Available?: no

Website: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
There are no specific visit requirements, however telling about your visit is strongly encouraged. Additional photos of the building or house to add to the gallery are also nice, but not required. Pictures with a GPS or you in them is highly discouraged.
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