Last summer I made a trip to Chicago with my family. Though I had been to Chicago several times before (often for business trips and conventions), I had never truly had the opportunity to visit one of the attractions that I had always had the desire to visit: the Frank Lloyd Wright House. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the name, Frank Lloyd Wright was a world-renowned architect who lived in a quiet suburb outside of Chicago, called Oak Park. Frank Lloyd Wright is often to be considered the most influential architect of the 20th century, and he’s designed numerous notable building structures, including the New York Guggenheim Museum, the Johnson Wax Building, as well as many personal residences for famous people. Frank Lloyd Wright gives inspiration to many modern architects who try to replicate his truly “American” architectural style. I have little background in architecture, but I am able to recognize a beautifully designed structure as much as any other person is. That is why when I made this most recent trip, I had ultimately decided that I needed to take the initiative to visit his home and studio with my family.
Though I had been to Chicago numerous times before, I had never really ventured too far out of the downtown area itself. Thus, I was relieved when I discovered that Oak Park was a mere 45 minutes outside of Chicago, and I was told by the hotel receptionist that gave us directions that “any idiot could find their way to Oak Park – you can’t miss it”. Well, she was right, there are road signs throughout the drive that guide you specifically to the studio, an attraction that the small suburb embraces and the primary reason most visitors travel to the town. Getting there was easy, but parking on a weekend proved to be a difficult issue. After finding a parking spot a few blocks down the road, my family and I made our way to the ticket booth. I could see the outside of the studio itself, but I was curious as to the architecture inside the house. The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio is ran by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation and Trust, essentially a group of volunteers that want to preserve Frank Lloyd Wright structures. Most of the people that run the studio tours are volunteer historians from the local universities and retired ladies who are familiar with his work.
After paying for our tickets, my family and I sat down awaiting for our tour to begin. Though there are several different tour options (including a self-guide tour throughout the neighborhood, where there are numerous Wright designed homes), because we had some time restraints, we elected for only the home and studio guided tour. Before the tour guide actually takes you through the home and studio, they provide a film to watch that details Wright’s career and provides a background of his life. At the conclusion of the film, our tour throughout the home began. Immediately I was taken back at how beautifully designed the interior of the home was and how unique the layout was. Words alone cannot describe how eloquent the design of the house and studio is, from the masterfully designed children’s rooms to the placing of the staircase. You simply must observe it for yourself!
Ticket prices at the studio vary, from $5 for children, $10 for youth, and $12 for adults. Monday through Thursday, three tours are given daily starting at 11 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM. However, on Fridays during the summer, six tours are done daily to cater to visitors, with start times beginning at 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, 4 PM, 5 PM, and 6 PM. On weekends more tours are offered, and they begin approximately every twenty minutes from 11 AM until 3:30 PM. The tour takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the tour guide.