Finding Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park
By Hitomi Farrell
Known as the former home of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Oak Park, Illinois, is full of culture and history. The town is easily accessible from Chicago via the “L” Green line or Metra. I was very excited to learn more about one of the most famous architects in the U.S.
Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park is a world-renowned complex where the famed architect lived and worked for the first 20 years of his career. From his living quarters to the adjacent studio showcasing original designs and drawings, here you get an intimate glimpse into the life of a man who shaped the course of architecture in America and beyond.
For those unfamiliar with his work, Wright is known for his “organic” architecture. Inspired by nature, his architectural style was designed to maximize natural light. Art glass (stained glass), fabric walls, high-backed chairs, high ceilings instead of an attic . . . I was amazed to see such a “modern” historic house from the 1800s. Wright was clearly way ahead of his time.
When I visited the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, I learned that he started the building when he was only 22 years old. It’s now a National Historic Landmark.
I absolutely recommend taking a guided tour of the interior of his home and studio. My tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable, taking the time to point out special architectural details that I might not have otherwise noticed.
Also, take advantage of the self-guided audio tour of the historic district surrounding the home and studio. You’ll become acquainted with 25 Wright-designed buildings in the surrounding neighborhood. Oak Park has the highest concentration of his work in the world in one city. I had the opportunity to see some of his other work, including the Unity Temple.
Oak Park can truly be considered an outdoor museum!
Downtown Oak Park
Once I finished my architectural tour, I headed to Oak Park’s downtown area, its welcoming streets lined with shops and restaurants. After wandering around, I picked a charming restaurant with outdoor seating. I watched passersby while enjoying healthy food and coffee. It was a perfect way to spend a very relaxing afternoon.
Oak Park was totally worth the day trip from the city. Even if you don’t know a thing about architecture or Frank Lloyd Wright, you can’t help but be completely captivated by this one-of-a-kind historic site.