The Guggenheim, Unity Temple, Fallingwater. If these sites sound familiar, it's because they're celebrated works of one of America's most revered and prolific architects, Frank Lloyd Wright. After passing away in 1959, Wright left a legacy of around 1,000 architectural designs in the US and overseas.
Design-lovers can relish the fact that many of his iconic creations are open for public tours. These include the residences he built in pioneering styles across America, including his inaugural "prairie style," known for its wide and low roofs over rows of windows and continuous open-floor plans, one of the most replicated designs in the country.
An interconnected multi-building complex built for businessman Darwin D. Martin in 1903, the Martin House Complex is 30,000 square feet and comprises two main houses. The pergola, conservatory, and carriage houses were demolished but reconstructed in 2007.
Touring the impressive complex allows visitors to see hundreds of Wright's "light screens" — windows, doors, and skylights adorned with artwork by the designer — alongside 55 Wright-designed custom furniture.
Wright's last Prairie house was completed in 1919, and some say it was a teaser of his then-forthcoming Usonian style.
Influenced no doubt by his travels to Japan, he placed the living and dining area of the house he built for Henry J. Allen around a pond adorned with water lilies and containing Japanese Koi fish. Interior design pieces, including the bookshelf, were a collaboration with George M. Niedecken, an interior architect of the high esteem.
Cedar Rock hosts what is thought of as one of the architect's best Usonian constructions, which were designed with the middle-income family in mind.
The Lowell Walter house is located by the Wapsipinicon River, and the grounds form the Cedar Rock State Park, near Quasqueton, Iowa. The house design was based on a grid floor plan and designed to keep materials standardized and economical. The original interiors, picked by Wright, remain in the house, which can be toured from May into October via the Cedar Rock State Park visitor center.
The house, located at the bottom of Camelback Mountain, was built for Wright's son and daughter-in-law in 1950, which some say is Wright's final showpiece.
The grounds span 10 acres with citrus groves on their periphery, and the striking spiral design evokes that of the Guggenheim Museum's design in New York. The couple donated the house to the School of Architecture at Taliesin, and a virtual tour is currently available via the website.
Visitors can currently tour Wright's first home in Oak Park, Illinois, his next-door studio, and his neighborhood via self-guided audio.
Wright was 22 when the house was erected in a town adjacent to Chicago. To Wright, the Windy City was a center of innovative structural design, and it's from there he embarked on a fruitful career in architecture, and his Prairie design vision followed.
The Hanna, or Hanna-Honeycomb House, was built for Paul Hanna, a Stanford Professor, and is a prime exhibit of Wright's guiding principle of "organic architecture."
He believed structures should blend with their outside environments, a concept he continuously developed over his career. The second part of the name is indicative of the honeycomb design borne from the hexagonal floor pattern. It is made out of native redwood boards and San Jose brick and underwent restoration after it suffered shocks from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
As noted by Time magazine and the Smithsonian, Fallingwater may be one of Wright's most spoken about designed homes. It's another rendering of the Japanese influence he started weaving into his building design.
Fallingwater encompasses the quintessential Wright features of projecting balconies and strong horizontal and vertical lines. It's also painted in a Cherokee red that he used on many of his residences.
The house designed for Purdue University professor John Christian and his wife Catherine has come to be known as SAMARA.
The house is another Usonian design, but one of the most endearing facts about the house is that Wright agreed to build it in the latter stages of his career for a modest sum, despite his acclaim and success. The condition was that the Christians would see it through to completion however long it took. It was finished in 1956, three years before his death.
Taliesin was Wright's home, studio, school, and an 800-acre agricultural estate is now a UNESCO heritage site. The house is located in the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin, and it comprises buildings from throughout Wright's career.
It was built on the architect's favorite hill during his childhood in Wisconsin, while the estate was named after a Welsh bard as an ode to Wright's Welsh grandparents. "Taliesin" actually means shining brow; however, another more descriptive moniker for the estate is Wright's "autobiography in wood and stone."
Westcott House is otherwise known as the "lost Wright artifact." It was designed in 1906 and built two years later. However, in the early 1940s, due to significant interior alterations, it remained undiscovered until the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and the Westcott House Foundation restored it to Wright's original vision.