Prairie Style

Arts and Crafts Movement

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 – 1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator, whose creative period spanned more than 70 years, designing more than 1,000 structures, of which 532 were completed. Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was best exemplified by Fallingwater (1935), which has been called “the best all-time work of American architecture.”

As a founder of organic architecture, Wright played a key role in the architectural movements of the twentieth century, influencing three generations of architects worldwide through his works.
Frank Lloyd Wright created his finest and most detailed art glass designs for the Susan Lawrence Dana House (Springfield, IL, 1902). For this window, he took his inspiration from the Midwestern sumac plant and rendered it in geometric forms and autumnal colors.

Wright was the pioneer of what came to be called the Prairie School Movement of architecture, and he also developed the concept of the Usonian home in Broadacre City, his unique vision for urban planning in the United States. In addition to his houses, Wright designed original and innovative offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, museums, and other structures. He often designed interior elements for these buildings, as well, including furniture and stained glass. Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time.” In 2019, a selection of his work became a listed World Heritage Site as The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Having grown up in Chicago and studied the architecture and design work, I always loved Wright’s work. Not just for the glass, but the designs were so different from all the “old” parts of Chicago. Oak Park has one of the homes open for viewing and getting up close and personal is truly a great experience.

Wright contributed to the Arts and Crafts movement in California when he spent some years. His style evolved into a somewhat different than that in the Midwest, which used more stained glass in the structures.

The Frank Lloyd Wright/Prairie School of Architecture Historic District is a residential neighborhood in the Oak Park, Illinois. The Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District is both a federally designated historic district and a local historic district within the village of Oak Park. Over 80 properties designed by Frank Lloyd Wright are located in this area. The Prairie School was an attempt at developing an indigenous North American style of architecture in symphony with the ideals and design aesthetics of the Arts and Crafts Movement, with which it shared an embrace of handcrafting and craftsman guilds as an antidote to the dehumanizing effects of mass production.