The Winton Guest house is comprised of six disparate elements unified by their pinwheeling effect off a central living room space. Although visually complex, the forms themselves are conventional compared with those Gehry includes in his designs today.
While early discussions between the client and architect suggested the possibility of covering the entire building in zinc, in the end the architect gave each space its own identity:
The forms stand on their own as each piece barely touches another, and they remain pure as no exterior joints, hardware, or utility boxes are visible.
Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. was the local architectural firm for the project, with architect John Cook taking the lead. Gehry’s office produced design development and construction documents, and Cook coordinated with Boyer Building Corporation and the subcontractors to ensure that the finished product resembled Gehry’s vision. Construction began in 1986 and John Cook had weekly meetings with the Wintons to discuss the building’s progress and problems.
One late change during construction involved the chimney of the brick fireplace room. Gehry originally designed the stack to rise from the southeast corner of the room, but when it proved impossible to bring the flue to that location he relocated the stack to the center of the southern wall, turning it so its edge did not rest flush with wall’s edge. This small change made the form even more dynamic than originally planned.
Boyer Building Corporation built the house on top of a basement (except under the garage) that housed a furnace, water heater, storage cabinets, and wine cellar. Gehry’s design called for radiant, in-floor heat, but when this proved too expensive forced-air heating and cooling was installed.
Perhaps the most interesting interior finish is located in the bathrooms. Gehry wanted marble or an elegant stone for parts of the room, but Penny called him on his own aesthetic. “You were initially famous for doing wonderful things with simple materials, and so, it’s going to be plywood.” Boyer’s team installed half-inch thick, sanded, and stained fir plywood.