5 Frank Lloyd Wright Structures Worth Visiting
Frank Lloyd Wright is inarguably one of history's most influential architects. He designed thousands of buildings, all following the principle that architecture should be in harmony with nature. Luckily, many of these structures are still standing today and can be visited and toured, so the public can enjoy these sublime designs. This list, in no particular order, highlights several must-see Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.
Kicking off our list at #1 is Price Tower. Located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, it was originally built by Frank Lloyd Wright for Harold C. Price as a corporate headquarters for his pipeline construction company. The Tower commission also allowed Wright to design objects within the building, including both built-in and free-standing furniture, fixtures, textiles, and decorative artwork.
The Price Tower Arts Center is located inside the skyscraper; its ongoing mission is to preserve the Price Tower, inspire visitors, and celebrate art, architecture, and design. The center hosts numerous exhibitions and events throughout the year.
Next up, at #2, is the Smith House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. This example of Wright’s Usonian ideal, which aimed to build quality houses for the American middle class, is located on the grounds of the Cranbrook Art Museum. The restored home, which Wright called “My Little Gem” during a 1951 visit, features an L-shaped floor plan and horizontal, cantilevered roof planes.
The structure is one of several historic buildings on view at the museum. Others include Saarinen House, an art deco building, and Cranbrook House, designed by Albert Kahn in 1908 and surrounded by 40 acres of gardens featuring fountains and statuary.
The #3 entry is Unity Temple, located in Oak Park, Illinois. The structure is one of the earliest public buildings in the United States to feature exposed concrete, and the last surviving building from Wright’s Prairie Period. In 1970, Unity Temple was designated a National Historic Landmark.
The Unity Temple Restoration Foundation was created in 1973 by volunteers dedicated to restoring and preserving the building. Over time, the organization evolved to promote architecture awareness and education through programs and events, introducing public audiences to Unity Temple and to the design principles that inspired it.
Coming in at #4 is Taliesin, the home, studio, school, and estate of Frank Lloyd Wright. Located in southwestern Wisconsin, the area includes buildings from nearly every decade of Wright’s career from the 1890s to the 1950s. Taliesin is a designated National Historic Landmark and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A nonprofit organization founded upon the recommendation of a commission authorized by Governor Tommy Thompson in 1988, Taliesin Preservation works to maintain and care for Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and the additional buildings on the estate. The work includes physical preservation, repair, and restoration of furniture and materials.
For our next entry, #5, we present the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park. This residence, built for Russell and Ruth Kraus, was Wright's first building in the St. Louis area, and is one of only five of his designs in Missouri. Typical of Wright's other Usonian homes, the building has an open living area, a central hearth, concrete slab floors, and a wall of glass doors.
Today, the nonprofit of the same name remains responsible for the preservation and operation of the house museum. The organization also serves as a focal point in the St. Louis region for educational programming on Wright’s legacy, as well as architecture and design in general.