Frank Lloyd’s Pad

To continue our sight-seeing adventures from our visit to Oak Park earlier this month, I give you… an outside look at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio. Yes, outside. I say that because the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust doesn’t allow photography inside the home. Which is lame. I understand the whole preservation of objects thing. But what makes it so lame for us is that beginning in November, the trust is conducting a test-run that will allow visitors to take photos inside. We, unfortunately, were visiting a month too early.

Anyway, despite the no-photos rule, Mikey and I woke up early on the morning we were scheduled to drive back home to St. Louis and braved the much cooler Chicago temperatures for some Starbucks and a stop into Frankie L’s pad.

If you’re unfamiliar with Frank Lloyd Wright, he’s known for developing Prairie style architecture. A few characteristics captioned below.

Clerestory windows -- which basically means any windows above eye level.

Photo courtesy of ArchitectureStyles

Projecting or cantilevered wings. See how the right side of the first and second floors jut out from the house?

Photo courtesy of Hinsdale Architecture

Low-pitch hipped or flat roof. You don't see many gables here.

Photo courtesy of Offbeat Travel

Prairie style was an all-new form of architecture at the time (late 1800s, early 1900s) and turned heads because it was so vastly different from the popular Victorian Era homes. In fact, walking the streets of Wright’s home today, you’ll find Victorian style homes everywhere. Ernest Hemingway’s birth home was distinctly Victorian, and it’s only a few streets away.

Across the street from the Wright home and studio is a very red, white and blue Victorian style home. And there are plenty more down the street.

But you may be surprised to know that Wright’s home was not built in Prairie style. It was constructed as Wright was experimenting with what would later become Prairie style architecture.

Facing the front of the house. Quite a large gable there.

Frank's front door.

But there are examples of his experimentation all throughout the house. We saw how the home’s color palette was reflective of its natural surroundings — greens and browns were consistent throughout. We saw clerestory windows in the master and children’s bedrooms. And we also saw how Wright tried to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces as evidenced by the space in the middle of the house where a live tree once stood. Its roots were once beneath the house, while its leaves grew up and out of the roof.

His studio was probably the most intriguing part of the tour. Seeing it was like watching an MTV Cribs’ episode where the C or D list celeb walks into his master bedroom and says “this is where the magic happens”. (Except the C or D list celeb was our tour guide and Wright actually did make architectural magic in that space.)

Since I wasn’t able to get any interior photos of the studio, I was able to photograph the columns outside the studio entrance.

Wright incorporated icons into these columns that were symbolic of the services he provided. From the top, down, you'll see a book to represent wisdom and knowledge, the storks to represent fertility (i.e. success for his clients as a result of his work) and the architectural artifacts in the center to represent his skill and expertise.

And right after I snapped this pic, the place started flooding with tourists. I still managed to get some other exterior photos as I creeped around all stalker-style around the perimeter.

This is one of my favorite pics from the tour. A reflection of the home's natural surroundings right in the clerestory window.

Sculpture above the studio

The house is right off Chicago Ave. All streetside parking.

We say goodbye to Frank's pad and Oak Park as the crowds start to make their way in.

I guess the good thing about not being able to take interior photos is that I didn’t give away the entire tour for you. Now maybe this outdoor peek has piqued your interest enough to go see the interior.

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2 Comments

Filed under Photography, Travel, Vacation

2 responses to “Frank Lloyd’s Pad

  1. Pingback: Over the Hill in Blog Posts | Everything Glitters

  2. Pingback: Great Scottsdale & Taliesin West | Everything Glitters

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