Monday, March 5, 2012

In Love with Frank Lloyd Wright

Most of you are probably wondering who this guy is. No, he's not my EX, and No, he's not a furniture designer or a potter.

He is one of the most famous architects ever and he hails from good ol' Chicago ( O.K., Wisconsin too) and I have been an admirer of his very influential and ground-breaking work for a while now.

The man!

Although his personal life was not something to be admired about ( he had several wives and he had an "attitude", so they say), his work has stood the test of time and the critics, throughout his life and beyond.

Maybe you'll recognize this two very iconic and famous structures....

Falling Water
Solomon Guggenheim Museum in NY

Inside the Guggenheim

And before we left good old Chicago, we had the pleasure of seeing some of his works first hand on one very beautiful July morning in 2010.

Take a look...

Wright's Home in Oak Park, IL

Here you see how unique FLW is. Designing his own home in Oak Park (about 30 minutes from our old home in Morton Grove). Remember this was the 1890's when most houses looked like this...

Pretty, but not my style

Our first stop on this walking tour in Oak Park are what were called the "bootlegged" houses. The term, coined by FLW himself, were done in the fashion of that time and based on the clients wishes. The only reason for him following the designs was that he was short on cash and needed to accept more work.

Robert Parker House 1892
Thomas Gale House 1892

Walter Gale House 1893
As you can see, not so impressive. These are what they called "Queen Ann" and "colonial"type of houses. But despite that FLW still managed to squeeze in his personal taste by adding "geometric massing" and of course, what he's most famous for now -  the open floor plan!

Moore-Dugal House 1895

Take note the Mayan influence
The house above - which is massive - is one of the houses that FLW built and renovated as well. Not one of my favorites but truly this house is still eye-catching and a prelude to his future successes as an architect.

Hills-DeCaro House 1883 --> 1906

Now this house is one of our favorites. I know you guys already recognize this very popular style - the Prairie style. 

Can you imagine this house on a street in 1906????!!!!  That's why I think FLW is a genius, his designs have stood the test of time!!!

Heurtley House 1902
THIS IS MY FAVORITE SO FAR!! This is beautiful - simply majestic, I wish I could photograph better, and I wish you guys can see it in person. It's a huge house very simple but stunning. FLW is into "organic" architecture and wants to incorporate the surroundings with the inside of the house, hence, the windows. I wish, I wish, I wish, I could go inside someday!

Thomas Gale House 1909

This one could have been built just yesterday right?! 

Peter Beachy House 1906

Copeland house - 1908

These houses were only remodeled by FLW.

Frank Thomas House - 1901

This one was right across a park dedicated to FLW. It is also beautiful, smaller but still we could see ourselves living in it if we were lucky enough!

Unity Temple - 1905

Though FLW was famous for his houses he also designed a lot of buildings, and this was one of them.

We ended our walking tour with other nice houses whose designs were influenced by FLW, our last stop was back at his house and you can still see his mother's house at the back of his own house...

FLW mothers home

FLW Backyard

But, despite ending our walking tour, we did not stop there. With our GPS on hand, we headed off to see 3 more of the houses designed by FLW that wasn't on the tour.

William Fricke House 1901
A 3-storey stunner.

Winslow House 1893

This one they say was the real start of the prairie style for FLW. This house is located in River Forest, IL, about a 5 minute drive from Oak Park.

Isabel Roberts House 1908

Small but beautiful
This house, I would really want to live in. See  how the tree goes out thru the roof?! So organic! So daring!

And last but not the least, when we visited Springfield in March 2011, I just had to see a famous FLW house..

Dana Thomas House 1902
Too bad for us it was closed when we came for some renovation, but I was still very happy to see it as you can tell...

Giddy all over

My only regret is, I discovered FLW as were about to leave Chicago, where most of his works are. We went on tour July 2 and left the city July 10 :-(. He still has so many houses in Wilmette, Glencoe, etc. How I wish I knew of him before and saw all the other houses... But no fret, because my hope is that,  I could see as many of this great Architects works eventually!

After all, it's not everyday that a non-architect, like me "falls in love" with a house or a building. I knew FLW was a genius the moment I laid eyes on the Heurtley house. You just have to experience it .. or him!!!!

Have a beautiful and inspiring day!


  1. Love the Winslow House! And one of my current Professors was the former curator at Falling Water. Great post! Thanks!

  2. Lucky you!!!! your professor for sure, gave you a good low down on that house! Winslow is beautiful, but really, the Heurtly house up close is spectacular! have a good day!


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