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Oak Park Illinois is full of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Not only does it have his original home and studio, it also ...
has the largest concentration of homes he designed anywhere in the world, and Meghan Carter of http://www.AsktheDecorator.com takes you through the highlights what you can see and learn about Frank Lloyd Wright and his time in Oak Park.
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Oak Park Illinois is the place for Frank Lloyd Wright lovers. Not only does it have his original home and studio, but also the largest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright homes anywhere in the world. And if you plan on coming you better get a map. Finding his homes maybe harder than you think.
I am hitting the road searching for answers and finding great design. It is a quest of beauty, function and of course inspiration.
When walking down the streets of Oak Park, a cute village just minutes from downtown you will find all of your typical architecture. But then you will see a house that stands out like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Well except for maybe pictures. And you will think it was built sometime in the 50s or after, but no. It was built at the turn of the century around the same time as the Victorians. No wonder many people consider them monstrosities. And those so-called monstrosities were the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright. But not all of Wright’s home in Oak Park are so obvious to pick out. At first I tried finding them on my own, but I quickly learned that if you are not a Frank Lloyd Wright fan you need a map.
There are quite a few copycat architects that design homes in Oak Park and Wright’s early work doesn’t look as radical or ground breaking as those typically associated with him. Well I used the map for the majority of my Oak Park sightseeing. I was lucky enough to have learned Finch of the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation trust point out a few significant homes to me.
During our walk, I learned that between 1889 and 1913, Wright designed 34 homes and Unity Temple in Oak Park. But perhaps the most significant home in Oak Park is the one Wright designed for himself, which Finch gave me a quick tour of.
Why do people come do you think? Year after year, what draws them here?
Finch: What is great is we have over 80,000 people a year that come year after year to this house and you know just an experience of mine it is so beautiful that I have had people come up and say, “I have come here to see my dream.” People read about this house. This is one of the first places he ever designed and even though it doesn’t look like a typical Frank Lloyd Wright house there are still parts of Frank Lloyd Wright and this is where the inspiration came from and this is where the designed was developed. And just so much history comes from this house that is why it is so celebrated.
So if you head to Oak Park, don’t forget to stop by Wright’s original home and studio. It is quite impressive and during the tour you’ll learn much about Wright and his style of architecture. But if you really want to be impressed. You need to visit the Robie House, which is considered one of the most important buildings in American architecture. Now the Robie House isn’t in Oak Park, but it is not too far away. Located on the University of Chicago campus, the Robie House is one of Wright’s most notable homes. And you can learn all about it during one of the guided tours.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust offers tour of the Robie House and Frank Lloyd Wright’s original home and studio. In addition to offering maps which shows the location of Wright’s homes in Oak Park. To discover more about those visit wrightplus.org.
For extra information about where I’ve been and what I’ve learned, visit my website www.AsktheDecorator.com.