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Wednesday, October 7, 2020


Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in Elmhurst sells for less than land value at $825,000

Two bits of news coming out of Elmhurst, Illinois, should interest aficionados of icon architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der rohe. First off a geography lesson: Elmhurst, Illinois is a western suburb of Chicago and Oak Park with a population of 44,000. It’s located southwest of the massive O’Hare International Airport. 

The town’s claim to architectural design fame is that it is the home city to residences designed by the aforementioned architects: Wright and Van Der Rohe. Of international interest is a new exhibit at the Elmhurst Art Museum, by City of Chicago cultural historian Tim Samuelson, titled ‘Wright Before the ‘Lloyd’’, chronicles how Frank Lloyd Wright was influenced by early mentorships with architects J. Lyman Silsbee and Louis Sullivan and other design disciplines in the development of his own distinctive style. 

The exhibit runs now through February 2021. Samuelson assembled the exhibit from his private collection of photographs, computer-aided reproductions and material scraps, several of which were rescued from demolition sites or the dumpster. The exhibit is mounted in three adjoining galleries, beginning with Wright’s childhood in Wisconsin and progressing chronologically to conclude with the first designs signed as ‘Frank Lloyd Wright’. 

‘You could see his work evolving, then there is a period (between 1896 and 97), and he turns 30 years old. He figured out where he wants to be... but you can still find the essences of all those other influences if you know where to look,’ Samuelson says. Much of the exhibit focuses on Frank Lloyd Wright’s collaborations with Louis Sullivan, with whom the architect shared a special gift, he says. 

‘He was able to synthesize a solution drawn from all of those things just the way Google works. It’s an unusual comparison to make but it absolutely works perfectly,’ he adds. Share your email to receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world Wright also had a special ability to think in three dimensions and visualize space, giving his buildings a dynamic effect, Samuelson says: ‘The idea of how a human being can experience three-dimensional space by moving through it. He knew how to orchestrate this. The buildings were functionally efficient but they were inspiring, and you would get the sense of smaller spaces opening into large spaces. Light became part of his palette where it would penetrate the spaces.’ ‘Wright before the ‘Lloyd’’ runs through to 14 February 2021 and is free with museum admission. 

Admirers of Mies van der rohe, who attend the new Wright exhibit, will also be able to the McCormick House on the grounds of the Elmhurst Art Museum. The McCormick is a post-war steel and glass prototype modular home, and is considered a cornerstone of the museum’s collections. 

During his early years, the architect signed his name Frank L. Wright

In other Frank Lloyd Wright news, the only FLW designed residence in Elmhurst was recently sold for $850,000. Called the F.B. Henderson house, this two-story, Prairie-style home was built in 1901 at a time Mr. Wright was known simply as Frank L. Wright. 

If you’re interested to know how a rare Frank Lloyd Wright residence could sell in 2020 market for less than the value of the land it sits on click the following article link by Chicago Tribune freelance writer Bob Goldsborough. Click here

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