Frank Lloyd Wright
designed some of the most iconic homes in the United States in a rock-star career that spanned more than 70 years and 500 structures. He made headlines for his histrionics and scandalous personal life, but his lasting contribution was a philosophy he called “organic architecture”: creating buildings in harmony with nature. Now is a prime time for pilgrimages to his masterpieces around the Midwest, as sites plan special 2017 programming to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth.
Named the “all-time greatest work of American architecture” by the American Institute of Architects, 1939’s Fallingwater in southwestern Pennsylvania sits perched, as its name suggests, on the precipice of a waterfall in a pristine wooded setting. Spring exhibits highlight Wright’s personal residences, childhood, and interiors.
Wright-designed homes dot Chicago with Starbucks-like ubiquity. The looming, nautical Frederick C. Robie House in Hyde Park, one of Wright’s final designs before he left for Europe in 1909, is often called “the last of the prairie houses.” Each Friday in April, the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust hosts swanky “After Hours at Robie House” cocktail parties. On May 20, a “Wright Plus 150 Architectural Housewalk” includes private tours of Chicago residences, as well as The Rookery Building, Wright’s home and studio in Oak Park, where the Carleton, the official hotel for the trust’s 150th celebration, is also located.
Wright began and ended his life in Wisconsin, where the 800-acre Taliesin campus, his magnum opus, served as his home, office, lab, and school, even as it was rocked by fires, death, and tragedy, making the stories as compelling as the architecture. Tours start in April, and they’re half-price from June 6–8 for the 150th. The Hillside Theater hosts choral performances, and the Riverview Terrace Cafe boasts an expansive view of the Wisconsin River. Designed by Wright’s students, Spring Valley Inn sits on 10 wooded acres just minutes from Taliesin.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE:
near Fallingwater offers deck dining among a canopy of trees in 125-acre Polymath Park.
Polymath Park has three lodging options: Wright’s Duncan House, and Balter and Blum houses, designed by a Wright pupil.
fallingwater.org, flwright.org, taliesinpreservation.org