Frelinghuysen Morris House and Studio


Lenox, MA


Preservation Architecture

George L.K. Morris and Suzy Frelinghuysen, prolific abstract artists since the late 1930’s, were a remarkable couple at the leading edge of the national and international art scene. In 1931 Morris commissioned a studio to be built on a portion of his parents’ estate in the Berkshire’s, near Lenox, MA. It was the first modern structure to be built in New England. In 1941, now married to artist and singer Suzy Frelinghuysen, Morris commissioned the design of a modern house to be built adjacent to his studio, a two-story stucco and glass block house. The house and studio is now a museum of architecture and art, and includes several frescos from both Morris and Frelinghuysen – both were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Structural work included an investigation to determine systemic deterioration and movement of the home. Although the home and studio were designed by architects, the builders were local and inexperienced with Modernist architecture and materials. Several unorthodox framing conditions were discovered, and the project team employed repairs that were both strategic and sensitive to the historic fabric, including the frescos. In addition, a study was performed to remove and replace the roof framing due to some inherent design flaws, including a conceptual protection and sequencing plan. Jeffrey Beane was the project manager and lead engineer for all phases of investigation and analysis.*

*completed at previous firm.

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