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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Charles E Roberts House Remodel, Frank Lloyd Wright 1896

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2011 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Charles E Roberts House Remodel, 1896
321 N Euclid Avenue
Oak Park, IL

Frank Lloyd Wright was hired by Charles E Roberts to remodel this house in 1896. Although unremarkable in its features, the house bears much historical significance in the fact that it was originally designed by Burnham and Root in 1879. This is the only house worked on by both of these brilliant architectural sources. The same sequence of architectural design would be seen almost a decade later when Wright remodeled the lobby of Burnham and Root's Rookery Building in 1905. 

Frank Lloyd Wright and Daniel Burnham would have known each other personally by the time of this remodel. In fact, Daniel Burnham had offered Frank Lloyd Wright the deal of a lifetime. 

After Frank Lloyd Wright designed the William Winslow House in River Forest in 1894, Ed Waller, a wealthy developer, admired the house from his own home across the street. Waller invited his good friend Daniel Burnham to a dinner at his River Forest home, along with Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife Kitty. This was no ordinary dinner as Frank Lloyd Wright discovered when Waller invited him and Daniel Burnham into his library and locked the door. By this point,  the wildly successful World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 had been over for a year, and Burnham's chief design partner, John Root, had been dead for more than three years. Recognizing Wright's talent, Daniel Burnham offered to send Wright to Paris for four years to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, all expenses paid, followed by two years of study in Rome. As for Wright's family, Burnham would also cover their living expenses while Wright was away. Upon his return, Wright would be Daniel Burnham's new partner. Wright was shocked by the offer. Both flattered and grateful, he declined. Although Wright was no longer with Louis Sullivan's firm, he proclaimed that Sullivan had spoiled the Beaux-Arts for him. He dreaded the idea of America becoming an extension of Europe, filled with dead replicas of the ancient Greek and Roman architectures. 

Frank Lloyd Wright's passing of the offer showed the true determination of the young architect to fulfill his quest of a new American Architecture. It's strange to envision how the course of architecture, specifically in Chicago, would have been altered had there been the architectural firm of Burnham & Wright.

Oscar Balch House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1911

Posted by George Pudlo on December 16, 2011 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)


Oscar Balch House, 1911

611 N Kenilworth Ave

Oak Park, IL


The Oscar Balch House was one of Frank Lloyd Wright's final projects in Oak Park. By this point in 1911, Wright had just returned from Europe and was living up at Taliesin, with frequent commutes to Chicago for business. The house is perhaps Wright's most fully mature Prairie house is Oak Park. The floor plan is more complex than its Oak Part contemporaries, and reminiscent of the Ward Willits House in Highland Park with its cruciform layout. It is generally unadorned with ornament, with a complex connection of planes and surfaces. Horizontal, wooden trim and flat roof lines pull the house outward. The top floor of the house's three front facades is lined with unbroken bands of windows. The Oscar Balch House is complex in its planning, yet simple in its display of geometric blocks. 


Interestingly, Oscar Balch was an interior designer and would have known that Wright would be the decider of how the home was decorated. 

George Smith House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1896

Posted by George Pudlo on December 16, 2011 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

George Smith House
404 S Home Avenue
Oak Park, IL

With its shingled façade, the George Smith House resembles Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home, just blocks away. One can see through the front windows and out the back of the house, a testament to the house’s open floor plan. The double pitch roof is characteristic of Wright’s early phase of design and gives a party hat appearance to the house. The eaves extend far over the walls of the house. Note how they help to shade the windows beneath the roof. Diamond paned art glass windows grace the front of the house. Wright would eliminate the tall chimneys in his later work.

William Copeland House Remodel, Frank Lloyd Wright 1909

Posted by George Pudlo on December 15, 2011 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (0)

William Copeland House
400 Forest Avenue
Oak Park, IL 
1909

The William Copeland House does not immediately evoke Frank Lloyd Wright because it was not built from the ground up, rather, it is a remodel. The original Copeland House was built in the late 1870's and designed in the Italianate style. The Copeland's hired Frank Lloyd Wright in 1909 to remodel their house in the Prairie mode, similar to some of his other work on Forest Avenue in Oak Park. Frank Lloyd Wright stripped the Italianate ornament off of the building, flattened out the roof lines -note the two, strong horizontal lines created by the roofs, and modified the dormer. Originally there were only two dormer windows, Wright brought it out to four, thus bringing out another horizontal line. There is a strong sense of geometry in both the dormer windows and the entry, but most of the work Wright carried out was inside. Frank Lloyd Wright knocked down the interior walls to give it an open floor plan, bordered it with wooden trim, and painted it Prairie colors. 

George Furbeck House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1897

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 2:23 AM Comments comments (0)



George Furbeck House, 1897

223 N Euclid Avenue, Oak Park IL

The George Furbeck House was completed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1897, it is from his experimental and transitional phase leading up to the Prairie Style of homes. The George Furbeck House is one of two houses that Warren Furbeck commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design for his two sons George and Rollin as wedding gifts. There are few elements in the George Furbeck House that Wright would carry over into his fully mature Prairie Style, save for the intricate wood banding around the windows between the two towers and the over hanging roof eaves. When the Prairie Style was fully evolved, Wright would eliminate the texturizing of the brick. Overall the house maintains a stout, fortress like appearance due to the two polygonal towers. Originally the house had an open faced porch that was later covered.

Rollin Furbeck House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1897

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 2:21 AM Comments comments (0)





Rollin Furbeck House, 1897

515 Fair Oaks Avenue, Oak Park IL

The Rollin Furbeck House was completed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1897, another transitional home in the phase leading up to the Prairie Style. Warren Furbeck commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design two homes for his sons as wedding gifts. The Rollin Furbeck House has many more elements leading up to the Prairie Style than his brother George's house. If you imagine the central portion of the house eliminated, it looks as if a Prairie Style house is tucked back behind the central, vertical portion with its low hipped roof, overhanging eaves and general massing. 

Edwin Cheney House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1903

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Edwin Cheney House, 1903

520 N East Avenue, Oak Park IL

The Edwin Cheney House was completed in 1903 and is a fully mature Prairie Style Home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Edwin Cheney House rests on a concrete stylobate; is long, flat, and horizontal; has a low hipped roof; has beautifully orchestrated art glass windows; has a broad, central chimney; and overall is very well connected to the nature on which it rises from. Though the Edwin Cheney House appears small, it is actually quite large with four bedrooms. The house is two floors. In the front of the Cheney House, the first floor is partially submerged underground, but the foundation of the building shifts in the back of the property where both floors are fully exposed. The privacy wall in front  dominates the house, and gives little indication to the passerby of what lies beyond.

Frank Lloyd Wright, especially in his early career, always liked to get to know the personality of his clients to match with the personality of the home. Wright got to know the personality of Mrs. Cheney all too well. The two began an intimate love affair that began on an emotional level, but eventually became physical. The affair between Mamah and Frank Lloyd Wright culminated in 1909 with the two of them leaving their respective Oak Park families behind and traveling to Europe together where they stayed for a year. 

Up until the point of Wright's Oak Park departure in 1909, he maintained celebrity status in the Chicagoland area and was known across the United States. It was during this year in Europe that Frank Lloyd Wright was vaulted to an international status. He was in correspondence with Ernst Wasmuth, a Berlin publisher, to publish a portfolio of his entire collection of work up until that point, known as the Wasmuth Portfolio. The two volume Wasmuth Portfolio is entitled Ausgefuhrte Bauten und Entwurfe von Frank Lloyd Wright, and is Frank Lloyd Wright's monograph of his entire collection of work up until that point, with works dating between 1893-1909. The Edwin Cheney House is among the collection represented.

Upon the return of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney, the two star crossed lovers moved to Spring Green, Wisconsin where Wright established Taliesin on a piece of land given to him by his mother. They stayed together at Taliesin to the dismay of the public and scandalous excitement of the tabloids, often making front page news in the Chicago Tribune in their "love bungalow" as it was dubbed. The affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick (she divorced and took back her maiden name), held strong until 1914 when a terrible tragedy ended their relationship. While Frank Lloyd Wright was in Chicago working on the Midway Gardens, a deranged servant poured gasoline around the perimeter of Taliesin, lit it on fire, and axed Mamah Borthwich and her two children from her first marriage to Edwin Cheney, to death, along with four other employees. 

Harry Goodrich House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1896

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)



Harry Goodrich House, 1896

534 N East Avenue, Oak Park IL

The Harry Goodrich House was completed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1896. The Harry Goodrich House is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's transitional/experimental homes leading up to the Prairie Style. Like the Francis Woolley House, the horizontal clapboard siding is brought up to the second level of the home. Geometrical windows form the bay that pushes out of the front of the house. The most interesting feature of the home, though, is the roof -it appears as if Frank Lloyd Wright took a high pitched roof and placed it on top of a low hipped roof, making the house look as if it's wearing a party hat. 

The Harry Goodrich House is currently undergoing renovations to fix the roof. The staircase that wraps around to the front of the house is temporary, and was not originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

William Fricke House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1901

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 2:14 AM Comments comments (1)





William Fricke House, 1901

540 Fair Oaks Avenue, Oak Park IL

The William Fricke House is an early Prairie Style house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1901. The William Fricke House is considered to be an early Prairie Style house because there is a clear struggle between the horizontal and vertical elements of the home. The William Fricke House maintains most of the elements of Frank Lloyd Wright's fully mature Prairie Style homes (concrete stylobate, horizontal banding, overhanging roof eaves, very low hipped roof, stucco exterior), however there are two double story windows that thrust the building upward to give it a vertical appearance.  

Harry Adams House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1913

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 2:11 AM Comments comments (1)



Harry Adams House, 1913

710 W Augusta, Oak Park IL

The Harry Adams House was the last house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park, completed in 1913. It is a pristine example of a fully mature Prairie Style house to cap Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park period. Originally, when the Adams' contacted Frank Lloyd Wright to build them a home, the design he came up with was far out of their budget. They subsequently contacted a different architect to build them a Wright-like home -this too was still out of their budget. They went back to Wright who reluctantly agreed to scale down the home to fit within their budget. The Harry Adams House has a very low hipped, almost flat roof; a broad central chimney; it rests on a concrete stylobate; and it maintains a long, flat, horizontal appearance. One of the scale backs of the Harry Adams House included using only art glass windows on the top floor. Additionally, the Harry Adams House is the only Frank Lloyd Wright House in Oak Park that has a car port. 

William Martin House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1902

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (1)


William Martin House, 1902

636 N East Avenue, Oak Park IL


The William Martin House is an early Prairie Style Frank Lloyd Wright home completed in 1903. Here, there is a struggle between the vertical and horizontal elements of the home where the two story, outer columns thrust the building upward. However, this is balanced by the long, overhanging roof eaves that step down from the top to bottom of the William Martin House. The house maintains many of the other Prairie Style qualities developed by Frank Lloyd Wright: it rests on a concrete stylobate; it is covered in stucco; it has horizontal wood banding; it has banded art glass windows. It is a clear demonstration of Wright's mastery of the fusion of vertical and horizontal planes.


The relationship between William Martin and Frank Lloyd Wright was a very fruitful one for Wright. The making of the William Martin House would lead to the commission for the EZ Polish Factory in Chicago, as well as the building of his brother's house, the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, New York, and the Larkin Administration Building in Buffalo, New York.

Hills-DeCaro House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1906/1977

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 2:09 AM Comments comments (1)



Hills-DeCaro House, 1906/1977

313 Forest Avenue, Oak Park IL

The Hills-DeCaro House sits on the lot adjacent to the Nathan Grier Moore House, with a large gap in between the two. Nathan Moore purchased the two lots next to his Frank Lloyd Wright designed Tudor Revival home, and had Frank Lloyd Wright remodel what was then a Stick Style House on the adjoining lot as a wedding gift to his daughter and son-in-law the Hills'. Frank Lloyd Wright completely remodeled the home, rendering the original house unrecognizable. He made it more Prairie Style with its over hanging eaves, and beautiful art glass windows, but one can also see the Japanese influence of Frank Lloyd Wright with its pagoda style roofs. 

When the Hills' moved into their new home, they enjoyed the outside, but were dissatisfied with the interior, Prairie layout. They hired an outside architect to undo the Prairie Style updates -clearly to the dismay of Frank Lloyd Wright. In the 1970's, there was a terrible fire that destroyed most of the interior of the home. The DeCaro family, then living in the home discovered that one of the only pieces to survive the fire was a built in Frank Lloyd Wright cabinet that contained the blueprints for both the inside and outside of the home. They then hired an architect to completely restore the home back to its original Frank Lloyd Wright condition. 

An interesting feature of this home is the white kiosk in the side yard- it was originally a ticket booth from the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Ironically, it was at the World's Fair of 1893 that Frank Lloyd Wright was first exposed to Japanese Architecture in the Ho-o-den of the wooded island.


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