10 Must-See Frank Lloyd Wright Houses

Frank Lloyd Wright home Frank Lloyd Wright, Wingspread, 1939. Wind Point, Wisconsin.

Inspired by the natural world, visionary architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the most celebrated architects of the 20th century. During the course of his decades-long career, he was equally concerned by both interior spaces and external structure, and sought to make design accessible for all. While his grandest and best-known projects include New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1959) and the Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma (1956), Frank Lloyd Wright houses, his smaller, residential projects, remain some of the most iconic and beloved structures of his career.

Frank Lloyd Wright Houses

The Industrial Revolution, a period that marked dramatic change in the United States, also changed the trajectory of American architecture. During this time, social and technological changes drew many to urban areas, but by World War II, increasing population densities drove city dwellers to look for more space in suburban communities. With this quick migration came the quick construction of family homes, and Wright rose to the challenge.

Frank Lloyd Wright sought to elevate the standard design of suburban America. Wright was a prolific architect, responsible for the development of iconic houses from coast to coast. So focused on making design accessible, Frank Lloyd Wright also dabbled in the realm of kit homes, albeit briefly, from 1915 to 1917.

Some Frank Lloyd Wright houses have been deemed so historically and culturally significant, they have been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Status. Frank Lloyd Wright houses have even appeared at auction in recent years, including the Sturges Residence at Los Angeles Modern Auctions in 2016 (though it was later withdrawn before the sale).

To celebrate what would be the prolific architect’s 150th birthday on June 8, 2017, we mapped out ten iconic Frank Lloyd Wright houses and mid-century marvels that every architecture aficionado should see.

1. Taliesin East

Taliesin is a large architectural campus encompassing Wright’s primary residence as well as buildings from many different decades in his career. He lived here with his mistress, Martha Borthwick. Wright was inspired by Michelozzo’s Villa Medici in Fiesole for its construction into a hillside, which he saw during his European vacation with Martha. The history of Taliesin East is marred by the horrific murder and fire committed by Julian Carlton.

2. Hollyhock House

Hollyhock House was Wright’s first project in Los Angeles and also his first attempt at designing a space that fit within the climate of southern California. To take advantage of the temperate environment, each interior space adjoins an equivalent exterior space, creating a combination of house and garden.

3. Millard House

Millard House is the first textile block house design by Wright in 1923. He made a series of four buildings in this style, as he sought to widen his repertoire from the Prairie house typecast he became known for. Wright used concrete blocks to experiment and develop a style that would allow ordinary people to build their own homes.

4. Ennis House

The Ennis House is another example of Wright’s block houses but this home was inspired by Mayan temples. Similar to the Millard House, the Ennis House was also made largely of interlocking concrete blocks. The extensive relief detailing present across much of the exterior is reminiscent of the Mayan building in Uxmal.

5. Taliesin West

Wright designed Taliesin West as a winter retreat. He tested bold, innovative designs and structural concepts by drawing inspiration from the desert that surrounded his property. The Taliesin Fellowship, created by Wright in 1932 to pass his design insights onto apprentices, began migrating between Arizona and Wisconsin, exposing them to a variety of environmental challenges.

6. Fallingwater

Fallingwater, a house designed for the Kaufmann family, sits over a 30-foot waterfall in southwest Pennsylvania. Wright wanted to create a unified and organic composition that blended into the environment from the eco-friendly paint to the shape and size of the house. His innovative designs make the house look as if it floats above the water.

7. Hanna-Honeycomb

The Honeycomb House is a great example of Wright’s innovative hexagonal design, patterned after the honeycombs of bees. The house has a six-sided figure with 120-degree angles. It is composed of San Jose brick, concrete, and glass, as well as redwood boards. As is common for Wright, the house juts out from a hillside and gently conforms level by level.

8. Wingspread

Wingspread sits on approximately 12 acres of land bordering Lake Michigan. Four wings protrude from the central hub, a large dome structure lined with windows. Each of the four wings is designed for different parts of the family (adults, children, guest, and staff). Wingspread is the most expensive residential design of Wright’s properties.

9. Bachman-Wilson House

Originally built along the Millstone River in New Jersey, the Bachman-Wilson House was constantly under threat from flooding, so the Crystal Bridges Museum purchased and relocated the structure to Arkansas where it was reconstructed on the museum grounds. The Bachman-Wilson House is classified as a typical Usonian home, a word Wright used extensively to describe the lack of convention he hoped to see in American architecture.

Kentuck Knob

Kentuck Knob is a quaint, one-story Usonian house built with the intention of being affordable for the average American. Situated atop a hill, the house overlooks a vast forest area and is constructed with native sandstone and Tidewater cypress, making it blend in well with its environment. This house reflects Wright’s organic architecture with an open floor plan and panoramic views that integrate the indoors with the outdoors.

Sources: Fallingwater.org | Franklloydwright.org | MillardHouse.comKentuckKnob.com | EbsworthPark.orgHannaHouse.edu