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DR. WILLARD VAN ORSDEL KING HOUSE

1336 Seabreeze Boulevard
(A-1-A)
Fort Lauderdale , FL

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Built 1951, listed in the National Register of Historic Places 2006
The Dr. Willard Van Orsdel King House is a one-story, Mid-Century Modern Style residence built of solid concrete block. It has an irregular ground plan and rests on a poured concrete slab. It has three bedrooms, two and one-half baths, a kitchen, a combination living room and dining room and a “Florida room” that forms a central pod and is the axis of the interior space of the house. The main (west) façade of the house is dominated by a trapezoidal, two-vehicle carport that is approached by a crescent-shaped driveway. The master bedroom and bath lie in the south end of the west pod of the house while the two guest bedrooms are found at the east pod of the house and are separated by a shared bathroom. The front and rear sections of the house are separated by the Florida room, which opens directly onto the kitchen/dining area, creating a large physical and visual area. Fenestration includes large window walls, awning windows, horizontal sliding windows, and fixed triangular clerestory windows.
The house is located on a 12,500-square-foot lot with beautiful landscaping in the Harbor Beach neighborhood which is situated on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.
The house represents a significant early example of the Modern Movement in residential architecture in Fort Lauderdale. It was designed by locally well-known architect William Francis Bigoney, Jr., for Alan Morton, the contractor/builder of the house. Bigoney had studied at Harvard University when its Graduate School of Architecture was directed by architect Walter Gropuis, and the house exhibits some of the principals that Gropuis had developed as one of the founders of the Bauhaus school of design in Germany during the 1920s and 1930s. These principals emphasized simplicity of form and physical and visual integration of exterior and interior spaces to produce a dynamic effect not based on historical architectural antecedents.
Most significant about the house was that it was the residence of Colonel Willard Van Orsdel King, Ph.D. (W. V. King), a renowned medical entomologist who specialized in the study of mosquitoes. King was widely published and received world-wide recognition for his research into the life-cycle and control of the malaria bearing insect. The house, which he occupied from 1953 until his death in 1970, is the property that is most strongly associated with King. After he retired from government service, he continued his important epidemiological research, working out of the house as a consultant.
The home is privately owned and not open to the public.
 


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