The University of St. Thomas Gainey Conference Center has announced the dates of monthly open houses for Frank Gehry’s Winton Guest House, located on the conference center’s grounds on the outskirts of Owatonna.
The open houses run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday May 17 and June 21. Cost is $7 for adults and $5 for students with ID. Children 12 and under are free. The Gainey Center is located just south of Owatonna at 2480 S. County Road 45.
Gehry is considered one of the world’s greatest living architects, and his guest house is described as among the milestones of his career. When completed in 1987 for Mike and Penny Winton, the house won House and Garden magazine’s design award of the year and made Time magazine’s “Best of ’87” design honor roll.
News of its restoration and move to Owatonna has been published internationally in architectural journals, and the video produced about the story, “Moving the Art,” was nominated for a Midwest Emmy Award in 2012. The video was written and narrated by Greg Vandegrift of the St. Thomas Communication and Journalism Department; Brad Jacobsen of Web and Media Services filmed and edited the piece.
Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable of The Washington Post called Gehry “the most staggeringly talented architect since Frank Lloyd Wright.”
His work, found across the globe, includes the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain. Gehry, 85, graduated from the University of Southern California School of Architecture in 1954. He lives in Santa Monica, Calif.
Originally located on Lake Minnetonka west of the Twin Cities, the home was moved by Stubbs Movers, piece by piece, in a relocation and renovation effort that spanned three years. Reconstruction of the 2,300-square-foot home, comprised of a cluster of six rectangular-, wedge- and cone-shaped segments, was led by Owatonna-based Casey & Groesbeck and the architectural firm Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates, Inver Grove Heights. The project was completed in fall 2011.
Docents will be available during the open houses to answer questions. Exhibits throughout the home tell the story of its original design and construction as well as its relocation; they include blueprints, drawings, photographs, original letters and the video “Moving the Art.”
Private tours of the home can also be arranged for groups of 10 or more. For more information call the Gainey Center, (855) 446-4460, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A website devoted to the house can be viewed here.
St. Thomas announced in February that it has decided to sell the Gainey Conference Center but that the university will retain the ownership rights to the Winton Guest House.
Editor's note: The open houses scheduled for July 19, Aug. 16 and Sept. 20 have been canceled due to the sale of the Gainey Conference Center.