FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT TOURS IN OAK PARK

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT TOURS IN OAK PARK AND THE ILLUSTRATED FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT GUIDE TO OAK PARK

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Susan Lawrence Dana House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1904

Posted by George Pudlo on October 4, 2012 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

                     

The Susan Lawrence Dana House is located in Springfield, Illinois and is one of Wright's largest prairie houses at 12,000 square feet.  Susan Lawrence Dana, a young and wealthy widow, commissioned Wright to remodel her family's Italianate mansion in 1902. 


Completed in 1904, Wright built an entirely new house around the existing structure, and now contains 35 rooms spread over three floors of sixteen varying levels. Hundreds of art glass windows modeled after sumacs enclose the house and provide for decorative lamps and fixtures. Low ceilings give way to dramatic expressions of space all through out. 


Susan Lawrence Dana was a proud hostess, and had Wright design the house with plenty of social areas and a dance hall. The dining room table can be extended to accommodate forty people. 


An unusual feature of the building is the basement. Wright rarely designed basements for his Prairie Houses, but the original house had one and Wright converted it into a game room. Skylights allow natural light to fill the basement -perfect for using the bowling alley the Frank Lloyd Wright designed for it.


Dana lived in her Wright designed house until 1928, and owned the house until 1944 when it was auctioned. She died two years later. The house is now called the Dana-Thomas House, as it was purchased by Thomas Publishing which used the building for offices into the 1980's. The State of Illinois purchased the building in 1981, and under the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the Dana-Thomas house became a Historic Site and has been fully restored.


Tours of the Dana-Thomas House are conducted on a regular basis, guided by docents from the Dana Thomas House Foundation. 


                     




Bonus: The house is allegedly haunted by Susan Lawrence Dana's spinster sister, and poltergeist activity is frequently reported.



Tree of Life Window, Darwin Martin House 1904

Posted by George Pudlo on December 24, 2011 at 12:50 PM Comments comments (0)

                    

     Tree of Life Window, Darwin Martin House, Buffalo, New York, Frank Lloyd Wright 1904


In the first decade of the 20th Century, Frank Lloyd Wright designed a number of projects for the Martin Brothers -William and Darwin. After designing the William Martin House in Oak Park in 1902, Darwin Martin was so smitten with Wright's work that he asked him to design the Larkin Building, Wright's first, large commercial project in 1903, and Darwin Martin's own house in 1904. 


Out of the Darwin Martin House commission came not only one of the most acclaimed Prairie houses of Wright's career, but also one of his most well known window designs: the Tree of Life. The idea behind the use of art glass windows is multifaceted. They offer a decorative element in otherwise generally unadorned houses. Intricate in their geometric compositions, art glass windows complement the geometric massing of the larger house plan. From the outside of the house, art glass windows protect the privacy of the inhabitant by skewing the view inward with the assistance of light, opaquely reflecting on the outside. Inside the house, the inhabitants can see out with perfect clarity, while light is softly diffused to the interior. The Tree of Life art glass windows are made of glass and zinc, and colored in Wright's typical Prairie color scheme.


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