Chicago Architectural History - Frank's White City
Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture
Varied Paths, Ohio and Illinois
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in 1867 after the Civil War, as my great grandfather mustered out of the Union Army headed to Madison County, Ohio near the city of London to set up shop for building thre National Road (Route 40).
In 1870, Frank was 3 years old and my great grandfather died just before my grandfather was born on a farm in Camridge Ohio, three counties to the east of Madison. No running water, no electricity. Outhouses and lanterns.
In 1887, Frank (age 20) moved to Chicago, Illinois and my grandfather, just 17, has been working the farm for 9 years already, 12 hours a day. Somewhere, sometime, their paths crossed, because my father had Frank Lloyd Wright materials and all that was lost when he himself died. I don't know how those paths crossed, it must have been a good story about the farm and the White City, farmers, engineers, and architects. Interestingly enough, Frank Lloyd Wright and Hugh McCaskey Inglish died in the same year, 1959.
F. Robie House, Chicago
The Chicago School
The Chicago School of Architecture is not a school. It is a style and styles were called schools in the 19th and early 20th century, Another example is the word "House." One of my martial arts is named the House of Wisdom. House here means school and school means style.
The Chicago style was often called Commercial Style between about 1890 - 1910, when Frank Lloyd Wright was becoming active in architecture, streamlining old hulking European designs and hanging everything in cantilever, while my grandfather was just getting running water and electricity into the farmhouses (he had two) in eastern Ohio. he could have used Frank's help.
The room above is the dining hall of the Dana-Thomas house that Wright designed and built around 1904. He always constructed the furniture to go with the house. This abode is prairie style architecture, a more flowing space than the cookie-cutter boxes that were coming into fashion. Frank filled much oif the Chicago suburbs and city with his work, adding a new chapter to Chicago Style.
One innovation that Wright introduced was the doublepaned window that is sound proof.
The Wright School, Chicago
The Robie House was built around 1908 in Chicago. It is another example of praier style architecture, with plenty of room.
Go and look at the Student Work page of the Taliesin link and view the jaw-dropping innovation of housing and landscape design that today's Wright students are developing.
Chicago Style Links
So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright. Simon and Garfunkel.
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