While Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture is amazing, don’t forget that he designed every element in most of his homes. That includes the art glass in many of is prairie style buildings. For fans of Frank Lloyd Wright art glass I’ve put together a short list of my favorite windows. Each of these projects below were done in collaboration with the Linden Glass Company based in Chicago.
Dana House, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Art Glass Masterpiece
The Dana house was built in 1902 in Springfield Illinois. The house itself started as a remodeling and expansion project of a home an Italianate home that stood on the property. Although several components of the original home are still present in the existing structure may not even realize it.
The Dana house is known for two famous art glass elements. The well-known fountain doors, and the sumac windows. Both pieces build on Wright’s concept of organic influenced shapes in his design work.
The sumac windows are one of Wright’s most literal translations of organic forms into glass. The leaves of the native Illinois plant are rather obvious. The colors in the glass are a nod to the fall time colors found in sumac trees as their leaves begin to change.
Design elements in the home were collaborations with sculptor Richard Boch as well as the Linden Glass Company.
The Linden Glass Company operated from 1884 to 1934 has made contributions to Wrights Unity Temple, the Robie House, Coonley House as well as the Darwin Martin House.
Avery Coonley Playhouse Balloons and Confetti
The Avery Coonley Playhouse was built in 1912 in Riverside, Illinois. The design catered to theatrical activities for children. Notes on early glass studies for the windows included the inscription “Balloons and Confetti.”
The windows in the home were colorful and bold. Brightly colored circles and small colorful squares and rectangles pop out of the otherwise clear glass. The colors in these windows are much more vibrant than the more subdued, natural tones found in the earlier Dana house windows.
‘The original triptych windows are the most famous art glass from the home. These windows were acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1967. Check out one example of a Clerestory windows from the home on the MoMA website to get sense of the colors and designs.
Darwin Martin House and the Tree of Life
The Darwin D. Martin house , completed in 1905, is located in Buffalo, New York. Mr. Martin played a significant role in selecting Wright as the architect for the Larkin Administration Building. At the time Martin was the secretary for the Larkin Soap Company.
Tree tree of life design is one of Wright’s best known art glass works. You’ll see it featured in almost every Wright gift shop you every visit. The design presents the simplification of a tree into its most basic geometric shapes. One of the original windows is on display at The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York.
Vistors are encourage to make tour resevations. Visit their website at http://www.darwinmartinhouse.org for more information.
Fredrick C. Robie House Diamond Windows
The Robie house was completed in 1910 and is located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. Wright’s best example of the prairie style of architecture is quite possibliy the Robie house. As a result, the home is on the national register of historic places.
Wright used his “Lightscreens” to separate interior space from exterior space. In the context of the city streets, the Windows at Robie House are one of the best examples of a design that is subtle enough to allow light in, but make it difficult for prying eyes to see into the families personal space.
The Robie house windows use diamond patterns that Wright first used in a simplified version at his Oak Park Studio and several of his bootleg homes. Especially relevant is the Emmond House, which includes examples of Wright’s early work with Diamonds.
The Robie house is open to the public for tours and special events. Visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust website to check tour times and buy tickets.
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