'A bargain for a masterpiece': Gehry-designed house in Owatonna auctioned

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A Minnesota house designed by world famous architect Farnk Gehry sold at auction for more than $900,000 Tuesday.

The selling price, which includes more than $100,000 in auction house fees, is "a bargain for an architecture masterpiece," auctioneer Richard Wright tells the Owatonna People's Press.

Known as the Winton Guest House, the building was auctioned by the University of St. Thomas, which closed its conference center outside Owatonna last year and sold the site to a company that operates an addiction treatment center there, the People's Press says.

St. Thomas art history professor Victoria Young tells the newspaper the unidentified buyer will have to dismantle and move the home by August 2016, and that cost likely lowered the purchase price for a house estimated to be worth $1 million to $1.5 million.

Commissioned by arts patrons Mike and Penny Winton for their property overlooking Lake Minnetonka, the Star Tribune reports the guest house completed in 1987 was once valued at $4.5 million.

The People's Press says it consists of five geometrically shaped rooms projecting from a central pyramid-shaped living room.

After a developer donated it to St. Thomas, the university spent 18 months dividing the home into pieces and moving it more than 100 miles to the conference center near Owatonna, with Gehry himself later commenting that the reassembly was "93.6 percent right," Fast Company Design says.

Financial Times calls the Winton Guest House "one of the star architect's early forays into complex shapes and varied materials. "

The Star Tribune says the early masterpiece of Gehry's sculptural style helped boost the architect to international renown.

St. Thomas says proceeds from the sale will go to the university's art history department.

Find more photos and background on the Winton Guest House here.

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