Broad Margin, a private residence located in Greenville, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1951 and built in 1954. It is one of only two buildings designed by Wright in South Carolina — the other is the Auldbrass Plantation in Beaufort County.
Broad Margin is the name given to the property by Wright. The term comes from Thoreau’s Walden in which he states, “I love a broad margin to my life.”
One of the last Usonian styles of architecture that Wright used it is characterized by the use of natural materials — stone and wood, as well the overall integration of the building and the site.
Built into the slope of the 2-acre property, the home has 12-inch thick concrete walls and uses cypress wood throughout. Other unique building methods include copper tubes embedded into the polished red concrete floors that are used to heat the home with hot water; the use of screws instead of nails; and doors and windows that were constructed on-site, completely of cypress and with brass hardware. These unique residential building methods exemplify Wright’s architectural philosophy as well as his attention to detail.
The house is a case study for Wright’s dictum: “Shelter should be the essential look of any dwelling.” Broad Margin’s massive roof, native stone walls and massive stone chimney reflect this idea. The structure consists of about 1900 square feet of living space in addition to a carport, tool-storage area and patio.
Broad Margin exemplifies Wright’s love for natural materials, his desire for open planning and his sense of the natural surroundings. His attempts to end the distinction between interior and exterior space and to create an architecture having integrity are visible throughout the home.