On a recent visit to Oak Park, the leafy suburb just outside Chicago, I took a guided tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright home, built in 1889 with several expansions and renovations over the years, including the connected studio in 1898.
The Shingle style home is reminiscent of Northeastern domestic architecture. It is set back from Chicago Ave., and the studio is partially hidden by a tree:
This large window let tons of daylight into Wright’s original architecture studio. As his family grew, he converted the room into two bedrooms for his children and built the studio next door in an ongoing architectural experiment that lasted about 20 years:
A stenciled wall panel is emblematic of Wright’s emphasis on bringing artistic elements into the home:
A gorgeously ornate skylight in the children’s playroom:
A mural on the main wall of the playroom depicts the story of the Fisherman and the Genie from The Arabian Nights, designed by Wright and executed by Charles Corwin:
Above the dining room table, a decorative panel set into the ceiling:
Wright’s friend and collaborator Richard Bock designed these capitals outside the studio, featuring the stork, tree of life, book of knowledge, and an architectural scroll:
This stained glass panel set into the ceiling in the studio’s waiting room was designed to impress potential clients and also served as a kind of self-promotional piece for the architect, visually summarizing many of his recurring geometric motifs:
Spanning two stories, the octagonal drafting room is the heart of the studio, an awe-inspiring interior whose every detail shows a precise and singular architectural vision:
Being a hopeless design nerd, I felt like I had entered a sacred space when the tour walked into the studio. In fact, our whole group was silent. Isn’t it amazing that design can have that kind of power? This whole experience was overwhelming, visually and philosophically, since it afforded a peek into the life Wright had created for himself, his family and his employees.