For those of you staying in the Chicago area for the winter break, I have a recommendation. If you want some design inspiration or just need a break from the city, visit Oak Park. Many of you may have been there, but if you haven’t you should go. Besides being full of very large, beautifully designed houses, Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio and first home is located in Oak Park. At 951 Chicago Avenue, Wright designed a house in which he experimented with space and decoration. He lived in the house with his first wife and six children from 1889 – 1909. He later designed and built a studio for his architectural practice. Though the house/studio does not look “typically” Wright; it stands out from the other houses that line the streets of Oak Park. It was modern for the time in which it was designed and built. One can see Wright’s style as he plays with decorative and spatial elements within the house. The studio space is airy and has a great deal of light. This space shows Wright truly coming into his style. William Allin Storrer, author of The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1983, remarked (about Wright’s house and studio), “Because Wright was his own client, his expression was not reserved; ornament became one with architecture, structure and design one with each other, and the whole and its parts could not be separated.”
I encourage you to tour his house and studio. It is wonderful and inspiring to be in the home of a legendary designer. After touring, walk through the streets (especially Forest Avenue) of Oak Park and see the 10-15 other houses Wright designed along with Unity Church and Scoville Park Fountain.
It is worth a trip.