Honeycomb House

Hanna House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is completed

The Hanna–Honeycomb House, recognized as a National Historic Landmark, was Wright’s first work in the SF region and his first to use non-rectangular structures. An example of “organic architecture” that implements a hexagonal design throughout, Hanna House has been designated by the American Institute of Architects as one of 17 buildings among more than 400 designed by Wright “to be retained as an example of his architectural contribution to American culture.”

William McCaw (‘57) remembers a talk given by the legendary designer of Hanna House: “I remember, as a freshman, that Frank Lloyd Wright gave a talk at Mem Aud. Wright was in his early eighties. He was sort of a showboat, a very dramatic kind of figure. After he was introduced, he came out on the stage and looked around Mem Aud; there was a long pause. Then he said to us, ‘We’re gathered here tonight in a box, and there is no structure so restrictive and unimaginative as a box.’ And that really caught me—I can still remember his opening line. And then he went on to explain his principles of architecture—that they should be based on natural forms and that we always felt better, more productive and happier, when we were attuned to nature. And that architecture can do that for us, bring us closer to nature and should include, as far as possible, forms and materials that are derived from nature. I thought that was a great idea. I never really heard it before, and it’s sparked a long interest in architecture that I’ve had ever since.”