Roberta Sugden House

Salt-Lake-Architecture-John-Sugden-Roberta-Sugden-House-1 First Preservation Easement to Cover a Mid-Century Property Will Protect 1955 Home From Alteration and Demolition. (Salt Lake City, UT – May 2015)       A glass and steel Millcreek-area home with direct ties to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the pioneers of modern architecture, is the first Utah mid-century building to have a protective preservation easement to prevent alteration and demolition of the property. The current owner of the 1955 home, Mollie Kimball, has lived in it since 1993 and worried that the home would be demolished when she was no longer the owner. Designed by John Sugden, who studied under Mies at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, for his mother Roberta, it’s a classic example of “Miesian principles.” Kimball granted the easement to the Utah Heritage Foundation in May 2015 to protects both the interior and the exterior of the home in perpetuity. Sugden (1922-2003) studied under Mies van der Rohe and was project architect for two of the most iconic and well-known Mies buildings, the Seagram Building in New York [1958] and the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive buildings in Chicago [1941-1951]. On these and other buildings, Sugden worked alongside Mies. The home he designed for his mother is the first building he did after returning to Utah. Sugden also designed homes in Salt Lake City, Albion Basin, and Parleys Summit as well as several commercial buildings. The Preservation Easement on the Roberta Sugden Home is one of 122 held by Utah Heritage Foundation, with 108 of them being in Salt Lake County. According to Utah Heritage Foundation Executive Director Kirk Huffaker, most easements are for exterior only, but this one covers the interior as well. He said previous owners had made additions and changes that distracted from the original design, but Ms. Kimball collaborated with Dee Wilson, a Utah architect who worked with Sugden, and restored it to its original modernist state. “Because of its transparency, the interior is equally important to the exterior to protect,” he said. “The glass and steel home has a centralized kitchen, storage and utility area with the bedroom, dining and living area stretching beyond to form a rectangle. But it is small compared to today’s homes, only 1,480 square feet, “It really embodies the Miesian philosophy.” Owners who would like to preserve their buildings for the future can complete and submit an application to the Historic Properties Committee at Utah Heritage Foundation for consideration. Easements are granted based on the historic and architectural significance of the structure. Properties with Preservation Easements receive an annual inspection and priority for the foundation’s technical assistance and low-interest loans. After an easement is placed on the property, any proposed changes must receive prior approval by Utah Heritage Foundation for the current and all subsequent property owners. The first five photos below are historic photos, the next 27 photos were provided by cityhomeCOLLECTIVE and the rest were taken by Eric Harker at the Roberta Sugden/Mollie Kimball Event.          

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