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19 Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings That Defined 20th-Century Architecture

These are the quintessential Frank Lloyd Wright buildings architecture lovers should tour around the U.S.


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While there are plenty of famous and influential architects in the industry, Frank Lloyd Wright is the only one who became a household name, and has remained so more than 60 years after his death. The Wisconsin-born architect left a legacy that spans seven decades during which he designed more than 1,000 buildings all over the country. Some of these, like the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, are thought of as the most legendary examples of his work. In 2019, eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings were given UNESCO World Heritage status—a testament to the importance of his work.

Wright’s incredible talent and vision led him to pioneer several new architectural styles such as the so-called “Prairie School” and Usonian. The former was inspired by the flat landscape of America’s Midwest and is considered the first truly American architectural movement, and the latter, which was derived from an abbreviation of “United States of North America,” was Lloyd’s version of middle-class residential architecture designed in harmony with the environment. In fact, nature always had a prominent spot in Wright’s designs. He was so influenced by it that many Frank Lloyd Wright buildings are led by the principles of “organic architecture”—another term that he popularized during his lifetime.

To honor America’s most legendary architect, we rounded up his most iconic buildings to inspire your future, architecture-fueled travels.

Charles and Dorothy Manson, Wisconsin

This early example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian style features a red tidewater cypress wood and local red brick facade—elements of which are also present in the interior to bring the outside in. Wright also designed many of the built-in features such as bookshelves, seating, and tables—all signature details of his Usonian homes.

Fallingwater, Pennsylvania

Completed in 1939, Fallingwater is Wright’s most career-defining buildings that propelled him into national stardom. The midcentury modern concrete-and-limestone private residence is also the most famous example of organic architecture. Thanks to its thoughtful design beautifully integrated within its dramatic natural setting, the house has become a symbol of an entire architectural movement.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s curvy silhouette has made it one of the most famous and photographed buildings in New York City. While Lloyd Wright was no fan of the Big Apple (he once described the city’s skyline as “a great monument [...] to the power of money and greed”), the architect still accepted Guggenheim’s commission to create a building “unlike any other museum in the world.” He designed the structure with organic architecture in mind incorporating natural elements and organic forms into its exterior and interior—its spiraling atrium is inspired by the shape of nautilus shells.

Unity Temple, Oak Park Illinois

The modernist concrete structure, completed in 1908, revolutionized religious architecture. Its design was partly the result of financial restrictions—Wright had a tight budget to work with, so he picked concrete as a building material—an affordable option at that time.

RELATED: You Can Buy the Last House Frank Lloyd Wright Ever Designed—for $7.95 Million

Taliesin West, Arizona

The architect’s winter home and studio in Scottsdale, Arizona, would later become an architecture school. While Wright frequently updated elements of its design, the building’s sloping roof covered in see-through canvas panels that allow natural light to pass through and redwood trusses have made it an instantly recognizable masterpiece.

Frederick C. Robie House, Illinois

Completed in 1910, this private residence is the epitome of Wright’s Prairie style. The house, together with its interior features and furniture, are designed as one connected element. The horizontal lines of the cantilevered roofs are translated inside through the use of exposed wood beams that frame the ceilings.

Hollyhock House, California

This architectural masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site represents the architect’s version of Southern California architecture that he called “California Romanza.” The house’s name comes from the Hollyhock, the owner’s favorite flower. Wright designed the roofs to replicate the bloom’s shape and he incorporated Hollyhock motifs throughout the residence.

Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House, Wisconsin

Considered Wright’s first Usonian structure, the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House (or Jacob I) was completed in 1936 after Herbert Jacobs challenged the architect to design a beautiful and affordable house for $5,000. The home was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2019.

Price Tower, Oklahoma

The 19-story landmark is the only skyscraper designed by Wright. He based the structure on a design originally conceived for St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery in New York City and the S.C. Johnson Wax Research Tower. The idea that a tower can be built anywhere regardless of weather or terrain was central to the architect’s vision for urban communities.

Florida Southern College

The Florida Southern College in Lakeland is currently the largest single-site with the most Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings. The architect envisioned 18 buildings, of which he saw 12 become reality, all constructed from tan-hued concrete.

Beth Sholom Synagogue, Pennsylvania

Wright’s only designed synagogue was planned with the utmost attention to the Jewish faith and religious practices. The building’s striking silhouette was modeled after the shape of cupped hands to evoke the image of people resting in the hands of God. The roof’s three ridges feature architectural motifs that represent a seven-branched menorah.

David and Gladys Wright House, Arizona

This house, designed for Wright’s son and daughter-in-law, is one of three spiral-shaped structures that the architect designed before he created the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which has a similar shape. The residence is raised on columns to provide a better view of the nearby citrus orchard and features custom-designed concrete block motifs.

Rosenbaum House, Alabama

This is one of the first Usonian houses that Wright created based on the Jacob I model he had designed in 1936. The structure is L-shaped, has a cantilevered roof, and is crafted from natural materials such as wood, brick, and glass.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Illinois

The architect’s two-story home and studio in the Oak Park area of Chicago was where he experimented with architecture and design for over two decades—very often on the house itself. The home’s silhouette and features were inspired by Wright’s late 19th-century upbringing and the idea of an honest life inspired by nature.

Darwin D. Martin House Complex, New York

Widely considered a masterpiece of Wright’s Prairie style, this Buffalo residence was part of a complex of buildings commissioned by a local businessman. Completed in 1905, the house is characterized by its openness—a novelty at the time—natural materials and colors, horizontal planes, and cantilevered construction.

Johnson Wax Headquarters, Wisconsin

This office building is one of Wright’s most revolutionary designs. He conceived the research tower with no windows since the building’s site was located in a bland industrial zone in Racine, Wisconsin. Instead, he decided to recreate nature inside by incorporating tree-like structures that let in plenty of light from the top.

RELATED: How Maya Architecture Influenced Frank Lloyd Wright's Greatest Works

Kalita Humphreys Theater, Texas

Completed in 1955, this is one of Wright’s last buildings and his only theater design. His modern vision for the performing arts included an updated version of the classic multi-arched design of the stage. Wright planned the interior of the Kalita Humphreys Theater with a circular stage surrounded by 11 rows of seating, thus bringing the audience much closer to the actors.

Millard House, California

Dubbed La Miniatura, the Millard House is one of four textile-block houses that Wright designed in the 1920s. It was a challenge not only to himself but also to society—to start seeing concrete, which was considered cheap and ugly, as something that could be used to create visually appealing structures. To do this, Wright poured concrete into patterned molds creating concrete blocks that resulted in a beautiful repetition of the same motif when joined together.

Marin County Civic Center, California

Wright’s largest public commission is comprised of multiple futuristic buildings located in Marin County, California. The complex’s most notable features are the library’s flattened dome and its adjacent gold tower (that also acted as a radio transmitter) and the scalloped balconies of the 580-foot long Civic Center with its blue roof.


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