The Prairie Houses
were innovative in several respects, which Wright enumerates in Modern Architecture (1931).
Published in an oversized format (10.25x10.25") to better display the images, this volume presents the 22 prairie houses
built by Wright in the Chicago area, with many excellent color photos of each detailing the exterior and interior architecture and design details.
Wright's importance to American architecture may be said to begin and end with his evolution of the uniquely American contribution to world architecture --the single-family house, starting with the Prairie Houses
of 1900-20, continuing with the Concrete Block Houses of 1920-30, and finally ending with his immensely influential Usonian Houses of 1930-59.
. o rgA rich legacy# Frank Lloyd Wright originally became famous for his down-to-earth work on distinctive prairie houses
designed in a Japanese style; # He was also lauded for his work on the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo which was torn down in 1968; # One of his most unique houses, Fallingwater, created in 1967, was designed for Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J Kaufmann and was built over an actual waterfall.
Just as Frank Lloyd Wright defined the US Midwest with his Prairie houses
, so in a way have Murcutt and his imitators come to many of us to symbolize an architecture completely of Australia -- touching the ground lightly in a primeval landscape.
To them Frank Lloyd Wright was the Wisconsin hayseed who hit the spot a couple of times -- the Prairie Houses
of the 1890-1900s and the Usonian Houses 40 years later but otherwise, from the Hollyhock House to the Marin County Civic Center, reflected America's addiction to corny sentimentality and fantasy kitsch.
This is not simply another study--and there are many--that positions Wright as a domestic, regionally-bound, vernacular architect whose best designs (namely, his variations on the Prairie House
) were realized before World War I, and whose work thereafter was uneven, mannered, or brazenly eccentric in comparison.