While in Chicago over the holidays, we visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s first home and studio in Oak Park, IL, a town about 20 minutes away from downtown Chicago. Wright, who is often referred to as the greatest American architect, was definitely a visionary. Hard to believe that he did not have any formal training in architecture but I suppose that some of the great geniuses are just destined to rise and become legends.
To this day, Wright’s house on Chicago and Forest Avenues in Oak Park stands out from the neighboring pastel-colored Victorian houses in the neighborhood. The interior is still impressive with detailed and quality craftsmanship everywhere, a true testament as to how the use of durable materials and fine carpentry can last the test of time (in this case about 124 years). Wright not only developed this house’s structure but also designed the windows and furniture. There is built-in storage everywhere (albeit small for modern day standards), including a his and hers walk-in closet by the master bedroom. Another feature that was ahead of the time is the recessed lighting in at least three rooms, back in the day when electricity was not even common in many homes. The house is more representative of his earlier Prairie style and is definitely influenced by his love for Japanese aesthetics.
Have you visited any of Wright’s homes or buildings? Personally, I’d love to visit Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. I suppose the Guggenheim Museum in New York remains to be a favorite.