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Waller Apartments, Frank Lloyd Wright 1895

Posted by George Pudlo on April 19, 2011 at 5:50 PM



Waller Apartments

2840-2858 W Walnut Street

Chicago, IL 60612

The Waller Apartments  designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on the west side of Chicago are another sad story. A collection of five connected apartment buildings made up the Waller Apartments. There are currently only four buildings standing, as the second apartment building from left to right was destroyed by a fire in the 1960's. It is still an empty lot where the apartment building once stood, and subsequently takes away from the unity designated by the row of Frank Lloyd Wright apartment buildings. Each of the five Waller Apartments buildings was divided into four units, but have since been divided into two townhouses each. 

An interesting feature of the buildings as they stand today is that portions of the buildings have been cleaned, revealing the intense yellow color of the bricks, while other portions of the buildings remain buried under decades of dirt. It is so dramatic that it looks like different colored bricks were used for each of the units, while they are actually all of a uniform color. Floral ornament on the exterior of the building points to Frank Lloyd Wright's influence from his previous employer Louis Sullivan. The Waller Apartments were built approximately two years after Wright was dismissed from Sullivan's firm.

Fortunately the Waller Apartments is a Chicago Landmark, meaning they are protected from demolition. However, a Chicago Landmark is only required to maintain its appearance according to the year it was Landmarked -not the year it was built. A Chicago Landmark plaque in the ground in front of the Waller Apartments reads:

"Commissioned by prominent real estate developer Edward Carson Waller to meet the demand for affordable housing, these apartments are considered among the earliest examples of subsidized housing in Chicago. The simplified design of the facade indicates the young architect's departure from traditional design toward the abstract, modern principles for which he was later internationally known." Designated on March 2, 1994.

Categories: Frank Lloyd Wright Chicago (IL), Experimental & Transitional

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