Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably America’s greatest architect and pioneer of the Prairie School movement and organic architecture, designed more than 1,000 original and innovative offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, museums and other structures.On June 8, 2017, Wright would have commemorated his 150th birthday and to celebrate, here are 10 of the best places to see his spectacular creations.—Devorah Lev-Tov
Wright’s career began in the Chicago suburb ofOak Park, where he designed and built homes between the 1880s and early 1900s, including his own. It was during this time that Wright began to develop what would eventually become known as the Prairie School of architecture. Oak Park's designated Frank Lloyd Wright/Prairie School of Architecture Historic District boasts the world's largest collection of Wright-designed homes and includes Wright’s home and studio, which he built in 1889. The Unity Temple, one of Wright's most famous works, is also located in Oak Park. These are both owned and operated by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust and are open for tours, as well as other famous Wright-designed buildings in Chicago, including the Rookery office building, the Robie House, and the Bach House.
Insider’s Tip: The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust will hold free open houses at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, the Robie House, and the Emil Bach House on June 8.
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WHERE: Scottsdale, Arizona
Wright's winter home from 1937 until his death in 1959, Taliesin West, was also where he taught his students, and it remains a school of architecture today. Built almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, it is a very personal creation. An evening tour called Night Lights is offered as well as the Insights Tour, where visitors can see Wright’s private quarters, the drafting studio, and the “Garden Room.”
Insider Tip: On June 8, all tours of Taliesin West are $1.50 in celebration of the architect’s 150th anniversary.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Scottsdale Guide
About an hour south of Pittsburgh stands one of Wright’s most beautiful and famous residences: Fallingwater. Built between 1936 and 1939 for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh as a vacation home, the cantilevered house seems to float above a waterfall. Nearby are two other Wright homes open to the public: Kentuck Knob and Duncan House, which was relocated to Polymath Park Resort from its original site in Lisle, Illinois, in 2007, and is available for tours and lodging.
Insider’s Tip: Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, located near the three Wright houses in Farmington, Pennsylvania, is offering the Frank Lloyd Wright 150th Birthday Package: overnight accommodations at the resort’s Falling Rock boutique hotel, tickets to Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob, a resort credit, and a copy of The Wright Perspective book.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Pittsburgh Guide
Wright, who was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, designed and built many structures throughout the state of Wisconsin, with many iconic ones situated in and around Madison. Spring Green is where Wright made his home from 1911 until the end of his life, at Taliesin, which is now open to the public. In Madison, Monona Terrace, a civic center designed by Wright in 1938 and completed in 1997 now sits as the centerpiece of the Madison riverfront. The prominent First Unitarian Society Meeting House, which offers two daily tours in summer, and the Seth Peterson Cottage, which embraces its natural surroundings on nearby Mirror Lake, are also worth a visit.
Insider’s Tip: All Taliesin tours are half price June 6–8.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Madison Guide
New York City has several Wright buildings and sites to visit. Perhaps the most famous, the circular Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, was designed by Wright and completed in 1959. Its defining feature is a ramp gallery that extends up in a long, continuous spiral. There is also a Frank Lloyd Wright room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was originally the living room of the home of Frances W. Little in Wayzata, Minnesota, designed and built between 1912 and 1914. Finally, the Crimson Beech house on Staten Island is a prefab home that was designed by Wright for the Marshall Erdman Prefab Houses company. It is the only residence designed by Wright in New York City and one of just 11 Wright-designedMarshall Erdman Prefab Houses that were built. While it’s privately owned and not open to visitors, the outside is worth seeing.
Insider Tip: From June 12 to October 1, the Museum of Modern Art will host Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, an exhibit devoted to the architect displaying about 450 works including architectural drawings, models, building fragments, television broadcasts, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, and photographs.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide
WHERE: Alexandria, Virginia
Designed in the 1940s, the Pope-Leighey House was created for a middle-class couple with a modest budget. Although the two-bedroom home is just 1,200 square feet total, the combination of high ceilings, large expanses of glass, and an open floor plan create the illusion that it’s much larger. Today, this Usonian (Wright’s term for his vision of the landscape of the United States, which now refers to about 60 middle-income homes he designed) house is open to the public for tours and special events.
Insider Tip: The Pope-Leighey House will host a 150th Birthday Picnic the night of June 8, featuring refreshments, cocktails, music, and an auction.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Northern Virginia Guide
WHERE: Manchester, New Hampshire
Completed in 1950, the Zimmerman House is the only Wright home open to the public in New England. Aside from the home itself, Wright also designed its furniture, gardens, and even its mailbox. Dr. and Mrs. Zimmerman left the property to the Currier Museum of Art in 1988, and the house was opened to visitors in 1990. By taking part in a tour, visitors can see the home, as well as the Zimmerman’s extensive modern art collection.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Monadnocks and Merrimack Valley Guide
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo was a thriving industrial city in the early 1900s and Darwin Martin, an executive at the city’s Larkin Company, hired Wright to design the company’s office building. While that building no longer stands, the commission led to numerous other creations in the city, including the Darwin Martin House Complex, considered by many to be the finest example of Wright’s Prairie style; the Blue Sky Mausoleum, located in Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery and completed by Anthony Puttnam, a Wright apprentice, in 2004; and the Graycliff Isabelle Martin House, a summer home built for Martin’s wife that is set on a cliff 65 feet above Lake Erie with views of the lake and Canada. All of these sites are open to the public.
Insider Tip: There will be150 hours of consecutive events and programming from June 5 to June 11 at the Martin House Complex and Graycliff.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Niagra Falls and Western New York Guide
Florida Southern College
WHERE: Lakeland, Florida
In 2012, Florida Southern College (FSC) was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service for being the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world with 10 buildings and two additional structures. The iconic Anne Pfeiffer Chapel is its centerpiece. Various tours of the campus are offered, including self-guided and in-depth tours.
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WHERE: Los Angeles, California
Designed as a residence for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock, the Hollyhock House is now part of the city’s Barnsdall Art Park. The house is arranged around a central courtyard with the hollyhock plant used as a central theme throughout, including on the stained glass windows. Self-guided and private docent-led tours are available.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Los Angeles City Guide