Frank Lloyd Wright: America's Greatest Architect

- 2012-06-06T20:19:19Z

Photograph by Philip Scott Andrews/AP Photo

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Ennis House, Los Angeles

Following the news that Joseph Catrambone, a self-proclaimed architecture buff, bought a Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie School style home in Oak Brook, Illinois for one dollar and has since begun dismantling and relocating the building to preserve it, takes a look at the architect's most significant designs.


Frank Lloyd Wright built the spiraling Guggenheim museum and a spectacular headquarters for Johnson Wax. But America's most famous architect, who died in 1959 after a career that spanned more than seven decades, continues to be most fondly remembered for his houses.

His early residences, most built in then fast-growing industrial cities like
Chicago and Buffalo, are known as "prairie houses" because their spreading terraces and strongly horizontal roof lines that extended to form deep porches made the houses look ready to sail across the waving grasses of the Midwest.

Wherever they were built -- cantilevering over a stream in western Pennsylvania, set into a hillside above Los Angeles -- they fit into their settings and those sites enriched the designs. The houses seamlessly united indoors and out, while their flowing indoor spaces made sense to Americans whose lifestyles became more informal and leisure oriented. Just about every well-designed house today is indebted to the insights of Frank Lloyd Wright. -- James S. Russell, FAIA

Left, Ennis House was designed for Charles Ennis and built in 1924. The largest of Wright's Los Angeles Maya-inspired textile block buildings, Ennis House was purchased in 2011 by Ron Burkle for $4.5 million.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this slideshow misidentified the interior of Fallingwater.