Rodeo Drive is probably one of the most famous shopping streets in the world. The street is lined with high profile stores that attract both stars and star watchers. As Laura and I drove down Rodeo Drive looking for a parking spot I realized we were a little under-car’d in our Hyundai rental car. Lamborghinis, Rolls, if it had a big price tag it was parked there. I will admit the fancy cars are beautiful but I have never seen the point in a car that costs as much as my house (or in the case of the Lambroghini, almost double). I would much rather spend the money on travel than waste it on a car that could be totaled in a matter of seconds… but I guess if you have a lot of money – you can probably buy both the car and the travel.
Over the coarse of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career he built 532 structures and designed over 1000… talk about an overachiever! I have talked about my love for Wright designed structures often on this blog as I find him fascinating, both personally and professionally. He was a brilliant architect, who was well ahead of his time, but also led a life that could even to this day make the front page of the tabloids.
This year was a milestone year for the Frank Lloyd Wright House Walk Tour in Oak Park Illinois. It was the 125th anniversary of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and the 40th anniversary of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.
I had always wanted to attend a FLW House Walking Tour but never thought I would make it to Chicago to do so. Chicago was a scary big city, expensive to get to (it’s actually cheaper for me to fly to the east coast than to Chicago) and I was positive no one would want to spend an entire day traipsing though a bunch of FLW homes with me.
In 1871 The Great Fire of Chicago ripped through the city leaving massive destruction in its path. As the city began to rebuild the architects pushed the envelope with new innovative structures. The Rookery Building was one of those structures. Daniel Burnham and John Root were commissioned in 1885 to design a building for the Central Safety Deposit Company. Burnham and Root’s building was inclusive of metal framing, fire proofing (can’t really blame them, right?), an elevator and plate-glass. The Rookery stood at an impressive 11 stories tall, the tallest building in Chicago at the time. The Rookery is now considered the oldest standing skyscraper in the city of Chicago.
If you have been reading my blog for a while you may have figured out that I am a Frank Lloyd Wright fan. I collect FLW house tours like one collects ball-caps of their favorite baseball team. There are a few houses that Wright designed that one should visit in my opinion: Fallingwater, Taliesin, Taliesin West, Wright’s Home and Studio and lastly The Frederick C Robie House. The Robie House is a stunning representation of Wright’s Prairie Style work.
There are no secrets about what kind of person Frank Lloyd Wright was. He was demanding, headstrong and always “Wright”. He was also well ahead of his time, innovative and an amazing architect. I consider myself a Wright fan, not to the point that I correct docents while on tours (and if you do this, please stop), but I have toured several of his structures, 21 if you are counting.
I do not think I realized the magnitude of what I was about to visit at the time. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. In hindsight I pretty much want to slap myself silly for not understanding just how amazing this was. It was officially the first FLW house I ever toured but as you will read or have read, I now try to find a FLW house anytime I go anywhere. I am often heartbroken as many do not offer tours as they are still private residents. I guess it’s understandable – I would not want people traipsing through my private home either. But come on people – you own a Frank Lloyd Wright house!
As a child I dreamed of being an architect, often building entire cities out of Legos. I also drew more floor plans of “dream” houses than I could ever live in, in one lifetime.
One day I shared with my mom a house that I had created with a glass floor over a creek. My mom took one look at the drawing and pulled out the encyclopedia (if anyone can remember what those are) and showed me a photo of Fallingwater, a house built over a creek.
Fallingwater is probably one of the most famous houses Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed. Although architectural fame was not in my future I still admire architecture anytime I travel. I also occasionally pull out the Legos as well. One because I need to justify why I still have them and two because I still love building houses.
Some people collect coins, others baseball cards, but I collect Frank Lloyd Wright House Tours. Sure it’s a little weird. It’s not like I can take the house with me once I finish the tour but when ever I travel if there is a Frank Lloyd Wright structure in the area I try to find a tour.
As of 2013 I have been to and/or on tours of 10 structures. Not all structures allow tours much to my dismay. 10 is a mere blip on the radar but I hope to make it to Chicago on day (hopefully soon), which is an area heavily saturated with FLW structures.