Sunday, December 12, 2010

Home for the holidays at Frank Lloyd Wright's

I dragged Read to Frank Lloyd Wright's first home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois. I am so glad I did. He on the other hand, not so much. To see and touch (which was not allowed, Read) the work of a genius that was way before his time was not only inspiring, but I could see today's design in almost every room. 

Incredible and breath-taking for a home built in 1898. We got a private tour of the home by the very knowledgeable docent of the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. Not because we were important, simply because we missed the scheduled tour times due to Read's expert city driving. 

The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (1889/1898) served as Wright's private residence and workplace from 1889 to 1909—the first 20 years of his career. Wright used his home as an architectural laboratory, experimenting with design concepts that contain the seeds of his architectural philosophy. Here he raised six children with his first wife, Catherine Tobin.

In 1898 Wright added a studio, described by a fellow-architect as a workplace with "inspiration everywhere." In the Studio, Wright and his associates developed a new American architecture, the Prairie style, and designed 125 structures, including such famous buildings as the Robie House, the Larkin Building and Unity Temple.( Credit to the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust)
Portrait of a genius
Warm and Sunny depiction of rear exterior. Not my photos. In my photo, it is dark, snowy and there are no leaves on the trees. Beautiful regardless.

Front exterior

We loved these carved columns. Wright built this home to start a family. The columns are made up of a stork and a tree of life design to depict fertility. Must have worked, he had 6 kids. 
The stained glass in this entry to his studio (seen right) is made out of 1000 pieces of glass per window. 

The wooden light fixture (yes, I said wood) is hand carved and designed by Wright to illuminate the dining table. His straight back chairs were designed to enclose diners and create a sense of space within a space. 
This is a picture of his studio where his draftsmen would work off the each side at large tables.
This stairwell and hall were built to include the oak tree that Wright didn't want to cut down, so the branches descend into the space. The neighbors thought he was odd. He was "green" before green was in! 
Check out the ceiling and extremely modern pendants in the master bedroom. Oak Park did not yet have electricity, but forward-thinking Wright knew it was coming, so he wired the house for electricity and later added these pendants. 
I think this was one of my favorites. This is the playroom for his 6 children. It has a balcony so the children could practice and perform plays. It also has an grand piano that was built into the wall and suspended over the back staircase. Since they didn't have an upright piano, Wright didn't want to consume space with a large grand.

This is a picture of the studio where the magic happened. Above and surrounding the center of the room is a hanging balcony suspended by chains. It is an early depiction of the cantilever trends we see today. 
I wish I had more pictures of the details, but we were not allowed to take personal photos. Read, of course, kept sneaking off to take some shots with his phone. Typical. Also hard to do since there were only two of us on the tour. My hope was to bring some of it home to you. I hope I have. 
Bye bye birdie,

Credit to: Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust


Anonymous said...

Frank Lloyd Wright left his wife and 6 young children in the early 1900's to go to Germany with his mistress. Could you imagine? He didn't even leave his family with any money, so before he left, out of "compassion", he split this home into 7 apartments so his family could survive on the rental income. What a jerk!

shellie said...

loved these pictures and sharing with us his home! i had no idea he would allow for a tree going through his house! so glad you're enjoying your trip and getting all inspired! merry christmas to birds of a feather!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Ok, the anonymous comment is from Read. He could not, would not let this go. I'm still sticking with "genius". Personal life aside. Read, thank you for not leaving us and dividing our home into apartments. XOXO

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article. I was there too and now it is nice with your fotos and description to remember it again.

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