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LA Architecture Tours, Sightseeing & Tourism

Pudleaux Tourism offers a variety of Architecture Tours in Los Angeles, California.
Featuring the Silver Lake Neutra Tour and LA Frank Lloyd Wright Tour

Frank Lloyd Wright Blog

Since 2010, I've been on a quest to visit, study, and photograph as many buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as possible, and I eventually I hope to see all of the architect's completed projects across the United States (and the few projects he did outside of the US). So far, I've seen over 150 buildings in a dozen states. As a tour guide and fan of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture, it has been a tremendous learning experience and a lot of fun. I'm in the process of organizing my photographs of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and posting them on this blog with information about Frank Lloyd Wright and occasional, personal anecdotes.   

I hope you enjoy the photographs that I've taken from my Wright journeys and that the information provided may be of some value to you. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are the intellectual property of George Pudlo. Please feel free to use my photographs for online articles about Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture, just be sure to include a link back to this website. Please send me a message if you are interested in using any of the images for commercial reproduction. 

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Frank Lloyd Wright's Abraham Lincoln Center in Chicago, Illinois, 1905

Posted by Pudleaux Tourism on February 18, 2015 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)


Abraham Lincoln Center, 1905

700 E Oakwood Blvd, Chicago, IL 60653


Completed in 1905, the Abraham Lincoln Center is one of only a few large commissions in Chicago designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright worked on the design for the Abraham Lincoln Center in collaboration with Dwight Perkins, between 1898-1903. However, Wright's uncle Jenkin Lloyd Jones, who commissioned the structure as part of his Unitarian All Souls Church, disagreed with Wright 's ideas and wanted a more simplified structure. Wright turned the project over to Perkins when he could not produce an exterior suitable to Jenkin Lloyd Jones. Thus, architectural historians differ on whether to include the Abraham Lincoln Center on Wright's roster of works. While the exterior may not be all Wright, the interior plan represented new ideas of spatial organization, perhaps precursors to the Larkin Building and Unity Temple.


The Abraham Lincoln Center is situated across the street from a vacant lot, where the All Souls Church was formerly located. The All Souls Church was designed by Joseph Silsbee, before Frank Lloyd Wright moved to Chicago, and being that Wright’s uncle was in charge of the large commission, offered a familial connection for Wright to enter the architectural world. 


The All Souls Church (now demolished) was the neighborhood gathering place and center of social life for Frank Lloyd Wright when he moved to Chicago in 1887. It was at the All Souls Church that he met his future wife Catherine “Kitty” Tobin at a Les Miserables themed dance where they literally ran into one another.

 

The idea for the Abraham Lincoln Center could very well have stemmed from the multi-use building concept of Sullivan’s Auditorium Building. The Abraham Lincoln Center was to be an extension of the All Souls Church. It was founded to perform several functions including hosting an auditorium for worship, acting as a settlement house, as well as containing administrative offices, social centers, educational centers, a hostel for travelers, and so forth.

 

More than thirty years ago, the Abraham Lincoln Center was converted into Northeastern Illinois University’s Carruther’s Center for Inner City Studies. It also houses the Abraham Lincoln Centre not for profit organization, according to their website:

 

The Abraham Lincoln Centre (ALC) was founded as a settlement house in 1905 under the auspices of the All Souls Church and it quickly became the home to a variety of social, intellectual and cultural activities. The articles of incorporation state that the Abraham Lincoln Centre corporation was formed for the "the advancement of the physical, intellectual, social, civic, moral and religious interests of humanity, irrespective of age, sex, creed, race, condition of political opinion and in furtherance there of the maintenance of institutions of learning and philanthropy."

 

Today they have thirteen locations.


Wright's Abraham Lincoln Center is technically not open to the public as it is a school, but you could very well take a stroll through the lobby/common area to get a look at some of the historic details of the building. Also of note is a very large plaque on the outside of the building that reads "THIS BUILDING IS DEDICATED TO PUBLIC SERVICE HONORING THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN DEMOCRAT" Not entirely sure who's responsible for the design of this plaque, but Abraham Lincoln was a Democrat. 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Emil Bach House in Chicago, Illinois, 1915

Posted by Pudleaux Tourism on February 18, 2015 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)


Emil Bach House, 1915

7415 N Sheridan, Chicago, IL 60626

 

Mr. and Mrs. Emil Bach purchased this Chicago lot in 1914 and commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design the structure in 1915. The house is a late Prairie Style structure with numerous cubic forms and geometric features, some first seen in the Laura Gale House of 1909 and has overhanging, flat roofs. The Emil Bach House is one of the last pure Prairie Houses that Wright designed before transitioning into a period characterized by textured concrete. It is one of the smaller houses that Wright designed, but it's packed with detail. Wright takes you on a "path of discovery" just to get to the front door. Once inside, a geometrically elaborate entryway opens into the living room and around a central fireplace into the kitchen and dining areas. The central fireplace was a common feature in Wright's Prairie Houses - the open interior spaces flow around a central fireplace, the "hearth of the home", which was to be the focal gathering place of the family. 


The surrounding landscape has changed dramatically since it was first designed by Wright. Originally having a clear view of the lake, the house was designed with a large back porch and sun deck, but the house is now neighbored by many large condominium buildings.The property has changed hands numerous times since Joseph Peacock purchased the property from the Bachs in 1934.

  

The Emil Bach House is currently owned by Tawani Enterprises, an organization developed to manage the wealth of James Pritzker of the Pritzker family, and was purchased at a price of $1.7 million in 2009. The Emil Bach House has since undergone an extensive restoration, and it primarily functions as a private meeting and event space and vacation rental home.


I was fortunate enough to visit the interior of the Emil Bach House upon completion of the restoration. 



Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House in Chicago, Illinois, 1910

Posted by Pudleaux Tourism on February 18, 2015 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)


Frederick C Robie House, 1910

5757 S Woodlawn, Chicago, IL 60637

 

 

The Robie House is characteristically the epitome of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style of Architecture. Not only is the Robie House an icon of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture, it is an icon of American architecture.The Robie House demonstrates all of the aesthetic qualities of the Prairie Style with its extreme horizontal nature; overhanging, cantilevered roofs; banded art glass windows; hidden doorway; and extensive porches for privacy. Note how horizontal the brickwork appears -the horizontality of the roman bricks is emphasized by the fact that the mortar in the vertical joints between the bricks is colored the same as the hue of the bricks while the horizontal joints maintain their original hue and are slightly recessed.

 

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Robie House shortly before he left his Oak Park studio in 1909 to travel to Europe to publish the Wasmuth Portfolio and to be with his mistress, Mamah Cheney. Unlike the majority of his Chicago-area work, Frank Lloyd Wright did not supervise the construction of the Robie House as he was in Europe. Frederick Robie was only 28 years old when he commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build his Prairie House. Robie worked for his father's company, which manufactured bicycles and automobiles, and assumed leadership when his father died in 1910. Wright and Robie bonded over their love of automobiles. Unfortunately for Mr. Robie, his company failed and he moved out of his Frank Lloyd Wright abode after living in the house for only two years.

 

After the Robies' departure from the house that bears their name, the Robie House was privately owned by the Taylor's and the Wilber's before being sold to the Chicago Theological Seminary in 1926. The Robie House was used by the Chicago Theological Seminary as a dormitory for decades, and almost met its demise in 1957 when the seminary wanted to demolish the Robie House to build a larger dormitory. The potential demolition of the Robie House stirred a great deal of public controversy, and Frank Lloyd Wright himself, at the age of 90, went to the Robie House to protest in the house's favor. Fraternity houses affiliated with the University of Chicago, and adjacent to the Robie House, offered to give up their land for the new dormitory to be built on rather than where the Robie House is located. The seminary fortunately agreed, and the Robie House was saved. A year later, the Robie House was privately purchased and subsequently donated to the University of Chicago in 1963, which maintained the Robie House for administrative and alumni purposes.

 

The Robie House was one of the earliest structures in Chicago to be given landmark status, dubbed a Chicago Landmark in 1971. The University of Chicago still owns the Robie House, but it is managed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, which is currently and spectacularly restoring the Robie House to its original splendor. The Robie House is open for interior tours.

 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Guy C Smith House in Chicago, Illinois, 1917

Posted by Pudleaux Tourism on February 18, 2015 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Guy C Smith House -American System Built Home, 1917

10410 S Hoyne, Chicago IL

 


The Guy C Smith and H Howard Hyde Houses are on the same street and I've categorized them together here not only for their proximity to one another, but for their similarities in design. Both of these 1917 structures are classified as American Systems Built Houses. Beginning in 1911, Frank Lloyd Wright began designing affordable housing intended for mass production. Nearly one thousand house designs would come out of Wright’s firm, more than any other project during his career. The first of these American System Built Houses was built in 1915. Though sometimes referred to as prefab houses, the American System Built Houses were not actually preconstructed before delivery. The lumber was cut at a factory and delivered to a site with exact instructions, thereby cutting down on construction costs as many owners would assist in the actual building of the homes.


 

 

Both the Guy C Smith and H Howard Hyde Houses display a strong, cubic form evoking the modernity of Wright’s Prairie Style. The wood trim facing the houses offers a geometric abstraction by interrupting the flat planes. The houses have some elements seen in Wright’s Prairie Houses, though they are simpler in design and execution. Overhanging roof eaves shade the structures, and bands of casement windows invite nature and light inside. The wraparound corner windows of the Guy C Smith House further harmonize the interior with the outside world by combing a duel southern and western view. However, the houses are comparatively plain to Wright’s other structures, relying on their stucco exterior and thick mullions of wood as naturally expressive decorative devices. In the H Howard Hyde House, an additional set back wing forms a porte cochere beneath it.


 

 

The Guy C Smith House is named for its first owner: Guy C Smith. Prior to its purchase in 1920, this American Systems Built Home was actually the model house for the Burhans, Ellinwood, & Company, which worked with the Richards Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to manufacture and advertise the American Systems Built Houses. 


I took the photo of the Guy C. Smith House shown above in 2010.


Frank Lloyd Wright's Isidore Heller House in Chicago, Illinois, 1897

Posted by Pudleaux Tourism on February 18, 2015 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Isidore Heller House, 1897

5132 S Woodlawn, Chicago IL

 

 

The Isidore Heller House is one of the highlights of Frank Lloyd Wright’s experimental and transitional period. This is one of the first houses that can be identified as having that Frank Lloyd Wright “look”. Two other houses by Wright went up in 1897 in the Chicago metropolitan area, the Rollin and George Furbeck Houses in Oak Park, but the Heller House is the most highly evolved, and perhaps the most highly evolved of Wright’s experimental and transitional period.


 

 

The attribute that points most to its modernity is not its detail, or windows, which were advanced for Wright for time, but rather the nature of its blocky massing. Here we begin to see Wright experimenting with the intersection of geometric planes. It’s bold, modern massing is at considerable odds with other houses of the era. The element in contention with Wright’s mature work is its verticality.


 

 

Most of the characteristics seen in Wright’s Prairie houses are visible in the Isadore Heller House, as well features that he would soon eliminate. Simply put, the Prairie houses are a refinement of the Isidore Heller House. The roof lines of the Isadore Heller House are low hipped, and nearly flat. The art glass windows are highly geometricized and intricate. Whereas Wright had been using art glass windows since the building of his own Oak Park Home in 1889, the Heller House is the first abandonment of simple side-by-side shapes, e.g. diamond panes. Most of Wright’s early projects did contain art glass windows, but their generic formation could be perceived as Medieval. Here, the designs within the windowpanes are interlaced with various shapes and colors.

 

 


The capitals of the columns on the front and side of the house are clearly Wrightian in design, though the ornament beneath the soffits, executed by Richard Bock, would be considered unnecessary in Wright’s mature work. The ornament, designed in plaster, has recently been replaced with identical replicas due to deterioration. The woman figure displayed in the ornament is actually Mrs. Heller, and an original piece of the ornament hangs above the fireplace in Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park studio. 


 

 

In the early 2010's I was invited into the house by the owners while I was giving an exterior tour for a group of tourists, and it was quite a treat for the whole group. The interior of the house has wide open, flowing spaces, and retains the original color scheme. Wright is widely known for using earthy tones, though the walls of the Isidore Heller House are of coral and marigold tones. The house has 7 bedrooms and 4 full baths at 6,100 square feet. The owners at that time had lived there since the early 2000’s and revealed to me that the original single family home has been turned into two units, with minimal interior alteration. The third floor, commonly used as a ballroom floor in many early Chicago mansions, is believed to have been used as a “gentleman’s room”, according to those owners. This would have been a place to play billiards, smoke cigars, and the like. Today, it is a separate apartment. The Heller House was listed for sale on the market in early 2012, and as of late 2014, the listing was removed from Zillow where it was listed for $2.4M.


Frank Lloyd Wright's H Howard Hyde House in Chicago, Illinois, 1917

Posted by Pudleaux Tourism on February 18, 2015 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)


H. Howard Hyde House -American System Built Home, 1917

10541 S Hoyne, Chicago, IL 60643

 

I categorized the Guy C. Smith and H. Howard Hyde Houses together here not only for their proximity to one another, but for their similarities in design. Both of these 1917 structures are classified as American Systems Built Houses. Beginning in 1911, Frank Lloyd Wright began designing affordable housing intended for mass production. Nearly one thousand house designs would come out of Wright’s firm, more than any other project during his career. The first of these American System Built Houses was built in 1915. Though sometimes referred to as prefab houses, the American System Built Houses were not actually preconstructed before delivery. The lumber was cut at a factory and delivered to a site with exact instructions, thereby cutting down on construction costs as many owners would assist in the actual building of the homes.


 

 

Both the Guy C Smith and H Howard Hyde Houses display a strong, cubic form evoking the modernity of Wright’s Prairie Style. The wood trim facing the houses offers a geometric abstraction by interrupting the flat planes. The houses have some elements seen in Wright’s Prairie Houses, though they are simpler in design and execution. Overhanging roof eaves shade the structures, and bands of casement windows invite nature and light inside. The wraparound corner windows of the Guy C Smith House further harmonize the interior with the outside world by combing a duel southern and western view. However, the houses are comparatively plain to Wright’s other structures, relying on their stucco exterior and thick mullions of wood as naturally expressive decorative devices. In the H Howard Hyde House, an additional set back wing forms a porte cochere beneath it.


The photo of the H. Howard Hyde House shown above was taken in 2010. 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Charnley House in Chicago, Illinois, 1892 (for Adler & Sullivan)

Posted by Pudleaux Tourism on February 18, 2015 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)



James Charnley House, 1892

1365 N Astor, Chicago, IL 60610


Completed in 1892, the Charnley House is both a Chicago and National Historic Landmark. Though the building is attributed to the architectural firm of Adler & Sullivan, the design is primarily attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright, for whom residential commissions were given. The Charnley House is unique in that clear demonstrations of both Frank Lloyd Wright and his master, Louis Sullivan can be seen. Note the beautifully ornate, wooden balcony. The Charnley House is considered by some to be the first modern home, not only in its appearance drastically different from the Queen Anne homes typical of the period, but also because of the open layout and lack of compartmentalized rooms. One walks into the Charnley House and meets the central staircase, disguised with a vertical, wooden screen. To the left is the library, to the right is the dining room, and on the upper floors are the bedrooms. There is an open flow to the house. The kitchen was located in the basement of the building. The Charnley-Persky House, as it's now known, is today owned by the Society of Architectural Historians. Weekly tours of the Charnley House are offered on a first-come, first served basis. 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Harry Goodrich House in Oak Park, Illinois, 1896

Posted by Pudleaux Tourism on February 17, 2015 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)


Harry Goodrich House, 1896

534 N East Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302


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 Wooley 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 was recently restored, and the staircase that wraps around to the front of the house in this photograph was temporary, and was not originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The house has since been painted entirely yellow. The house is privately owned. 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Rollin Furbeck House in Oak Park, Illinois, 1897

Posted by Pudleaux Tourism on February 17, 2015 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Rollin Furbeck House, 1897

515 Fair Oaks Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302


 

In the Rollin Furbeck House we see several characteristics that Frank Lloyd Wright would adopt in later homes as well as many that he discarded. The overhanging eaves and low pitched roofs contribute to the horizontal aspect of the house. Though the main entrance to the Rollin Furbeck House is in the front, it is disguised by the front porch. It would be only a few years later that Frank Lloyd Wright dropped the use of verticality in his homes as seen in the detailed columns here, as well as the use of diamond paned windows and complex brickwork. Casement windows behind the aesthetic columns open inward into the house. The Rollin Furbeck House represents one of the grandest designs in Frank Lloyd Wright's transitional period leading up to the Prairie Houses.


 

 

The house was a wedding gift from Rollin Furbeck’s father, Warren Furbeck, though Furbeck moved out of the house after only a year of living there. Frank Lloyd Wright also designed a house for Rollin Furbeck’s brother, George Furbeck, in Oak Park the same year. The two houses vary dramatically. The house is privately owned. 


Frank Lloyd Wright's George Furbeck House in Oak Park, Illinois, 1897

Posted by Pudleaux Tourism on February 17, 2015 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)



George Furbeck House, 1897

223 N Euclid Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302


 

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. The house has 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms at just under 4,000 square feet. 


 

 

I once took the grandson of a previous owner of the house on a tour of Oak Park, and he shared with me that his grandparents had purchased the house in the 1940's for $27,000 -very expensive for that time. The house recently sold in 2014 for only $650,000 - a steal!


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