When most people think of American architecture, they think of Frank Lloyd Wright. Throughout his 70-year career, Wright designed over 1,000 structures and saw 532 being completed. His design philosophy centered around organic architecture. He believed in his compositions being in harmony with the environment. Wright is most known for being the pioneer of the Prairie School architecture movement as well as developing the Usonian home concept.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes, hotels, schools, skyscrapers, churches, and more. He is known for creating every aspect of a home, including the interior elements, furniture, and glass. He was named “the greatest American architect of all time” by the American Institute of Architects in 1991. Throughout the United States, there is a wealth of stunning architecture designed by the influential Frank Lloyd Wright. Read on to learn more about some of his most notable structures. The best part about these beautiful homes? Most of them are open for tours!
1. Gordon House
Known for being the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in Oregon, the Gordon House was designed in 1957 and completed in 1963, four years after Wright’s death. This house was the final structure in Wright’s Usonian series, in which homes were designed to be affordable for the average working class American with an annual income of 5,000 at the time.
The Gordon House is located in Silverton, Oregon, and is approximately 2,133 feet. In the living room, it has gorgeous 12-foot floor to ceiling windows and glass French doors. Wright’s signature horizontal designs connect the interior and exterior spaces. There are two bedrooms on the second story of the home, and each of them has its own private balcony. Wright’s traditional use of wood fretwork is present as well as the construction of cedar wood and painted cinder blocks. In September 2004, the Gordon House was entered into the National Register of Historic Places.
Also known as the Hanna House, this home is the first Wright house built in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s located on the campus of Stanford University and is Wright’s first non-rectangular structure. The design of this home is hexagonal and was inspired by the honeycomb of a bee. It has a wealth of six-sided figures throughout, including hexagonally tiled terraces and built-in furnishings.
Construction began on this home in 1937, but its design was expanded over the following 25 years. The floor plan is unique in that it has no right angles. Frank Lloyd Wright designed this home for Paul and Jean Hanna, well-known educators associated with Stanford University. The Hanna-Honeycomb House has been named a National Historic Landmark.
Widely known as Frank Lloyd Wright’s most beautiful work, Fallingwater is an idyllic home partly built over a waterfall in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. This home was one of three buildings Wright was tasked to design in his late 60s. Fallingwater was part of the reason for Wright’s resurgence as a top talent in the architectural community in the late 1930s.
This property is known for its heavy use of vertical and horizontal lines. Wright used the beauty of the natural surroundings of the home, like the waterfall, to create a dynamic structure. He was also greatly inspired by Japanese architecture in this design. The American Institute of Architects chose Fallingwater as the “best all-time work of American architecture” in 1991.
Storer House is a beautiful structure located in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. This home is notable as it is one of only four Mayan Revival style homes designed by Wright. It was built in 1923 for the homeopathic physician Dr. John Storer. Wright used the unique textile-block design as a way to make the home look like it was an extension of the surrounding landscape.
Mayan-inspired columns, tall narrow windows, and a large upstairs living room dominate the design of Storer House. Wright’s son Lloyd worked as construction manager and landscape architect on the project, creating the lush environment surrounding the home. The National Register of Historic Places added the Storer House to its list in 1971. Fun Fact: The Hollywood Backlot at Disney’s California Adventure Theme Park includes an homage to Wright with a seating area based on the design of the Storer House.
Constructed in 1900 in Kankakee, Illinois, the B. Harley Bradley House is an example of Prairie School architectural style and was Wright’s first residence designed in this style. Prairie School style developed its name because Wright and his clients worked to create homes inspired by natural forming plants in the tallgrass prairie around Kankakee.
The B. Harley Bradley House was initially fitted with 90 stained glass windows, 82 of which are still intact. This home is a real example of Wright’s signature style with its many rows of windows and a low-pitched roof. Since 1986, the B. Harley Bradley House has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Kentuck Knob was built in Chalk Hill, Pennsylvania in 1953 on the spacious Chestnut Ridge. Also known as the Hagan House, this residence was one of Wright’s last completed homes. He designed the Kentuck Knob at age 86 while working on the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Wright only stepped foot on the site of this home once during the construction phase.
Notable for its copper roof and crescent shape, the Kentuck Knob features plenty of unique materials like glass, native sandstone, and tidewater red cypress. The design is anchored by a hexagonal stone pillar that joins the living room and bedroom wings. Currently, this home is owned by a British lord, whose family has opened the house for public tours.
Located in the East Hollywood area of Los Angeles, the Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House was built for an oil heiress in 1922. It was initially intended to be included in an arts and theater complex, but it was never made. The Hollyhock House was Wright’s second California project, but he was busy designing the Imperial Hotel in Japan, so he was unable to oversee the construction of the home.
Hollyhock House has a simplistic exterior and is arranged around a courtyard. Exterior walls tilt back to 85 degrees, giving the home a Mayan appearance. This impressive structure was included in a top ten list of houses in Los Angeles. These days, the Hollyhock House is at the center of Los Angeles’ Barnsdall Art Park.
In 1923, the Millard House was built in Pasadena, California. It was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first of four “textile block” houses. Wright began this project after finishing the Hollyhock House and Imperial Hotel. In an effort to break away from his Prairie House Style, Wright focused his vision on concrete blocks. He aimed to take a cheap, plain material and turn it into something beautiful.
Using textured, neutral-toned blocks, Wright wanted the house to blend in with the surrounding trees and hillside. At the time, the look and design of the Millard House weren’t well-received by other architects, but Wright maintained great pride in his work. In the decades following the construction of the Millard House, it has become widely known as one of the classic works of the 20th Century.
This home was designed by Wright in 1889 and was his family home for many years. He and his wife Catherine raised their six children in this home, located in Oak Park, Illinois. Wright’s home was remodeled in 1895 and 1898, where it was greatly expanded with an additional kitchen, dayroom, and playroom.
A notable feature of this property is the variety of sculptures located around the exterior. The artwork was created by Frank Lloyd Wright’s friend Richard Bock. The Home and Studio fell into disrepair in the 1960s, but it underwent a 13-year long restoration process beginning in 1974.
Designed by Wright and built between 1903 and 1905, the Darwin D. Martin House Complex is located in Buffalo, New York. This home is widely considered one of Wright’s most important Prairie School structures. Experts agree that the Martin House Complex is Wright’s most significant design from the first half of his career. Wright himself referred to this home as his “opus.”
The architect designed fifteen patterns for 394 art glass windows to act as light screens and connect exterior views to those on the inside. It is the most art glass designed for any of Wright’s Prairie Houses. Also important to the architectural design of the home was a semi-circular garden that included a variety of plants designed to bloom throughout the different growing seasons.
Also known as the Herbert F. Johnson House, Wingspread is widely recognized as one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most expensive and elaborate houses. Designated as a National Landmark in 1989, this property is now used as a conference center by The Johnson Foundation. Wright built this home in Wind Point, Wisconsin on 12 acres of landscaped grounds to emulate a prairie setting. Wingspread features a central hub that has four arms radiating from it. The arms were designated for different functions, for example, a parents’ wing, service wing, guest wing, and children’s’ wing. Its hub is a domed structure with a viewing platform on top. This iconic home is known as being one of Wright’s final Prairie School-inspired designs.
The Frederick C. Robie House is located on the University of Chicago Campus in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Built in 1909, this property has been selected by experts as being Wright’s most exceptional Prairie School designs. It has been a designated National Historic Landmark since 1963.
As with most of Wright’s Prairie School designs, he designed all of the windows, furniture, lighting, textiles and other interior furnishings. Roman brick was used to create sharp horizontal lines on the exterior. The interior of the home was designed as two large rectangles that slid next to one another. The Robie House is 9,062 square feet and has three floors.
Called “The Jewel on the Lake,” Graycliff is located in Buffalo, New York overlooking Lake Erie. It’s one of Wright’s most ambitious summer estates, as it is a three-building complex sitting on an eight and a half acre landscape. The Isabelle R. Martin House is the largest building, and it features transparent glass walls so guests can see the lake through the building. The Foster House was intended to be used as a garage and apartment for a chauffeur. The Heat Hut was the smallest building and was constructed from stone retrieved from the edge of Lake Erie.
Wright also designed the landscape of the property, including a tennis court and surrounding trees and shrubs. In the years since it was built, Graycliff has undergone plenty of corrective maintenance and is now open for tours. It is now known as a New York State Landmark.
Taliesin was Frank Lloyd Wright’s estate built in Spring Green, Wisconsin in 1911. He created this home on land owned by his mother’s family. It was designed to house Wright and his mistress after they both left their spouses. The building was designed using Prairie School elements. After a disgruntled employee set fire to the home and killed several people, including Wright’s mistress, the house was rebuilt in 1914. An electrical fire in 1925 required an additional renovation to repair destroyed living quarters.
Along with the residence, four other Wright-designed buildings are located on the property: Tan-y-Deri, the Romeo and Juliet Windmill, the Midway Barn and the Hillside Home School. Many of Wright’s most notable designs were created here including Fallingwater, the Johnson Wax Headquarters and the Guggenheim Museum.
Taliesin West served as Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home from 1937 until his death in 1959. Wright chose this location in Arizona as the perfect spot for a building used for living, learning, and running a business. The design of the building was greatly inspired by the Arizona desert. The exterior features local desert rocks among the concrete because Wright believed strongly in using readily available materials close to the building site instead of flying materials out. Natural light is also an integral part of Taliesin West’s design.
This iconic building is located on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale, Arizona. Today it houses The School of Architecture at Taliesin as well as the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Tours of this beautiful home are available as well.
Located in Florence, Alabama, the Rosenbaum House is the only building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the state. This home is an important part of Wright’s Usonian concept and is one of just 26 pre-World War II Usonian buildings. Scholars refer to the Rosenbaum House as “the purest example of the Usonian.”
Built in 1940, the Rosenbaum House took inspiration from another Usonian property, the Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin. It sits on 2 acres of land on the north bank of the Tennessee River. The home is L-shaped and made from natural materials like brick and cypress wood. Glass is a prominent component of the design of the house in an attempt to lessen the distinction of the interior and exterior. Nearly all of the rooms in the home have their own door leading outside.
The Ennis House is the most substantial textile block home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It sat in the Loz Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles and was built in 1924. Many scholars say that the Ennis House is a reference to architecture’s Mayan Revival. The design of the textile blocks used to construct the home are inspired by Puuc architecture in the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal.
The main house and smaller chauffeur’s apartment make up the building, and a paved courtyard separates the two sections. The home is quite large and measures roughly 10,000 square feet. Designated as a city, state, and national landmark, the Ennis House is on the market! The current owner is selling it for $23 million.
Another Usonian home, The John and Catherine Christian House resides in West Lafayette, Indiana. It’s commonly known as Samara and was built in 1956 near Purdue University. Wright named the home Samara after the fruit of the same name that he observed on the property the first time he visited.
The home was designed with entertaining in mind. The living room was large enough to hold 50 people. The interior is much brighter than most of Wright’s designs because the homeowners requested a more saturated look even though Wright was against it. The color palette of the home is bright green, magenta, and purple. In 2015, the John and Catherine Christian House was officially designated a National Historic Landmark.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed this home in Wichita, Kansas for former Kansas governor Henry Justin Allen and his wife, Elsie. Built in 1917, it was one of Wright’s final Prairie Houses. Because Wright was working on the Imperial Hotel in Japan at the same time, there are notable prairie and Japanese touches throughout the home.
The Allen-Lambe House was considered a forward-thinking house at the time and boasted many modern appliances like an alarm system, gas fireplace, and a central vacuuming unit. It also contained the first firewall in a residential home. This home has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973 and is now run as a museum by the Wichita Center for the Arts.
The Emil Bach House is located in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood and was built in 1915 for Emil Bach, who was a big fan of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. It’s notable for being a strong example of Wright’s late Prairie style, and a display of his creativity shortly before his architectural style shifted.
One of Wright’s series of geometric homes, the Emil Bach House is a two-story single family residence that’s approximately 2,700 square feet. This cubic home with a flat, overhanging roof is the only one of its kind left standing in Chicago. When it was first built, it was considered a country home as residents could view Lake Michigan from its rear facade. As the neighborhood changed, the home eventually became surrounded by apartments and commercial buildings. The Emil Bach House is now a Chicago Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.
This home is unique because initially, Wright wasn’t given artistic freedom by his client. The owner of the home, Nathan G. Moore, insisted on the home being completed in the Tudor Revival style. Wright agreed to it but spent many years disliking the house for being so strictly historical. A fire in 1922 allowed Wright to redesign the Nathan G. Moore House in his style.
The revamped structure evoked Tudor architecture as well as Mayan, Sullivanesque, and other exotic areas. Aspects of the home were similar to previous Wright works like the Imperial Hotel and Hollyhock House. The Nathan G. Moore House was briefly opened up for tours but is now a private residence.
More widely known as Jacobs I, Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House was built in 1937 in Madison, Wisconsin. Architecture experts consider it to be the first Usonian home ever built. The home is small, with a single story, only two bedrooms and 1,500 square feet of space.
The home’s exterior features brick, glass doors and more of Wright’s signature horizontal boarding. It is topped by a flat roof and sits on a simple concrete foundation. Wright was challenged by Herbert Jacobs to design and construct a home for $5,000, which equals to about $87,000 today. Final constructions costs added up to $5,500. Through the Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin Heritage Tourism Program, Inc., the home is currently open for tours.
Constructed in 1902, the Arthur B. Heurtley House is located in Chicago, Illinois’ Oak Park suburb. This building is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s earliest Prairie Style homes. Many patterns that appear in the design of the Arthur B. Heurtley House would go on to reappear in several of his most magnificent Prairie Style designs.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s emphasis on a horizontal exterior, wooden siding, and high window bands are present in the Arthur B. Heurtley House. It features a low pitched roof and plenty of balconies and terraces to make outside access easy. The unique floor plan is the reverse of a contemporary two-story American home in that it has public rooms on the top floor and private spaces down below.
Also known as the Richard Lloyd Jones House, Wright built this home in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1929 for his cousin Richard Lloyd Jones, who was the publisher of the Tulsa Tribune. The 10,000 square foot home was designed in the Prairie Style and is just one of three Frank Lloyd Wright homes built in Oklahoma.
Westhope is distinct for its striking glass and concrete exterior. Many townspeople were baffled by the look of the home, buy Wright was incredibly proud of his design and considered it “even more beautiful than he had imagined.” Since April 1975, Westhope has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Also known as The Ship House, the F. F. Tomek House is a clear example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School style. This home resided in Riverside, Illinois and was constructed in 1906. Its design serves as inspiration for Wright’s Robie House and includes furniture designed by Wright himself.
Three stories comprise this home, with the main floor housing a billiards room, the second floor being where the bedrooms are and the third floor being much smaller than the others. The home’s interior is inspired by Japanese motifs and features a lot of glass art, which was typical for Wright to include in his designs. The F. F. Tomek House underwent significant renovations in the 1970s and was named a National Historic Landmark in January 1999.
Commonly known as the Lowell Walter House, this home is located in Iowa’s Cedar Rock State Park. Wright originally built it in 1948 as the summer home for Des Moines, Iowa businessman Lowell Walter and his family. Cedar Rock has the tadpole shape typical with Usonian homes features the living and dining spaces in the “head” and the bedrooms in the “tail.”
Wright built the home on 11 acres along with a two-story boathouse and outdoor hearth. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls provide a gorgeous view of the valley surrounding the home. Thanks to several skylights and a clerestory in the center of the home, the living spaces are always filled with natural light. The Lowell Walter House is preserved by the Friends of Cedar Rock and open to the public for tours.
Considered “Michigan’s Prairie Masterpiece,” the Meyer May House was built in Grand Rapids in 1908. This home is another excellent example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School style. It was designed to allow plenty of natural light to stream into the living room via large windows and skylights. It also has a lot of space for terraces, planters and perennial gardens. Additional bedrooms were added onto the second story in 1922, and servants’ quarters were included downstairs.
Since the 1980s, the Meyer May House has been on the Michigan State Register of Historic Sites as well as a part of the National Register of Historic Places. This beautiful property is open to the public for tours.
Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to build the Eugene A. Gilmore House in Madison, Wisconsin in 1908. Also known as the Airplane House, this home is located close to the University of Wisconsin Law School Campus. The structure falls into the category of Wright’s Prairie Style even though it has more of a vertical feel than most of the Prairie Style homes.
The sharply-pointed balconies that project from the home’s dining room give it an appearance akin to a plane preparing for take-off, which is where the moniker Airplane House originates from. The living rooms are located on the top floor, giving residents an excellent view of Madison, Wisconsin and the Four Lakes Region that surround it.
Built-in 1952 in the scenic Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, Arizona, Frank Lloyd Wright designed this home for his son David and his wife, Gladys. The impressive structure is 2,500 square feet and made of concrete blocks. It sits among orange groves facing Camelback Mountain. The house is uniquely designed in a spiral shape to capture wind and cool the home down. It’s one of three Frank Lloyd Wright designs shaped like a spiral and is considered a precursor to the Guggenheim Museum.
This home is widely regarded as Wright’s final residential masterpiece because of its innovative design and beautiful interior. David and Gladys Wright lived in the home until their deaths, David in 1997 at age 102 and Gladys in 2008 at age 104. The David & Gladys Wright House is currently on the market for $12.9 million.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed the William and Mary Palmer House in 1952 for a University of Michigan economics professor and his wife. It is located on three lots positioned at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac. Conveniently, it’s less than a mile from the University of Michigan. The Palmers purchased the property in 1949 and hired Wright to design the home after being impressed by his Affleck house.
Another Usonian home, this structure is 2,000 square feet and situated on a hillside. The primary construction materials are brick and red cypress. Like many of Wright’s Usonian designs, the house has no right angles. Its shape is triangular, with three wings extending off of a central entryway. The property also includes a garden house in the back that’s home to a collection of furniture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.