Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio
Oak Park, Illinois
Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio Oak Park Reviews
The house that Frank Built... Mar 21, 2007
So Frank Lloyd Wright built this house for his wife, his kids and him in 1889 at the age of 22 and attached his studio to the house for work until 1909 and then went to Europe for work. From here him and his associates developed a new type of american architecture called the Prairie style and built 125 structures, including the Robie House which is down the road from here--- I ventured to Oak Park expecting to see the Robie House but thought that this was it and never found it... so that will be my next trip.
In 1911 this house was turned into rental units until 1974 when the concervation took over and started to restore the house to the year 1909 because that is the last year FLW lived there. And in 1988 the doors opened for tours.
So a the summer of 2006 I went to Chalk Hill, PA and saw FLW Kentuck Knob. This house was very small and cramped but had wonderful design and flow to it on a spread out estate... so I was imagining this house to be like that... it wasn't. This was a very residential house and the land mass wasn't too much... infact it was the opposite of Kentuck Knob as the land was cramped but the house was very large and the rooms were built so it seemed like everwhere you went there was a new hiding spot and each room is very unique.
The dining room was a large retangular room and it has a big wooden table with wooden straight back chairs. Above it is a sky light which lets the light down onto the table. FLW notice where light fell and used this to make rooms within a room. In fact at night when they were eating the sky light had lights hidden in it so when they were on everything surrounding the table was black so it seemed like their own world!
Upstairs is the play room which had the FLW classic benches attached to the wall so it couldn't be moved around and hanging out of the wall was a Grand Piano... it was hidden off by a wall from the outside hall way.
The Kids rooms upstairs was a large room separated by a wall to make 2 rooms. The wall didn't go up to the ceiling so everything from one room could be heard in the other. In fact when the restoration happened they had to take down the top part of the wall because it was patched over.
FLW studio was another feat. He prided himself in not needing to use support beams in his structure. He felt that they were ugly, a nuisance and got in the way. So what he did is his ceiling went up like a teepee top and chains held up the structure. On the floor he built 4 posts that didn't go to the ceiling but instead had the lights on top like a light post and they are attached to the architure tables that he taught his students design on! According to the tour guide it was almost like he was mocking the other architects for their lack of thinking out of the box.
The front of the house is confusing to the viewer... there isn't a sense of a front door... it is hidden. He likes to do that with his houses to give it a sense of being one with the out doors and his house has a cape cod feel when all the other houses around it are a victorian feel giving it a fresh design even though it's over 100 years old! In fact the tour guide told us that she was standing outside of the house and a resident who just moved to the area stopped and asked if she knew who the architech was. The tour guide said yes and said F.L. Wright...and the woman didn't recognize the name so she asked if the tour guide formally knew him because she was looking for a good architech to design her and her husbands house they wanted to build and that the house in Oakhill was one of the freshest designs she's ever seen!
If going to Chicago you have to see one of his houses... there are a couple to chose from so make a day out of it and plan wisely!
Part of the Engine, Engine, number 9 coming down Chicago Line travel blog
Part of the list Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings
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