The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota plans to auction off Frank Gehry’s Winton Guest House to the highest bidder on May 19 in Chicago. But if you want to buy it, there’s one catch. You can’t keep it where it is. Frank Gehry, who designed the recent “paperbag” UTS Dr Chau Chak Wing in Sydney, was commissioned to design the house in 1982 by Mike and Penny Winton. Five years later upon completion it won a number of awards and was later sold to real estate developer Kirt Woodhouse.
It was then donated to current owners St. Thomas University who had cut the 2,300 square foot house into eight pieces and moved 110 miles south to Owatonna where it was reassembled and repurposed as part of the Daniel C. Gainey Conference Centre. The move took 18 months and cost an undisclosed sum estimated to be in the high six-figures.
When it reopened in 2011, Gehry attended the ceremony and declared the relocated structure to be “93.6 percent right.”
Last year, the University sold the parcel of land the Guest House sat on to Meridian Behavioral Health Services, a company that has since converted the land into an addiction treatment center. At the time of the sale, the University retained the title to the Winton Guest House and originally planned to move it yet again, possibly to downtown Minneapolis, with an August 2016 deadline.