A Journey in the Art Glass of Frank Lloyd Wright

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Banded, diamond pane windows are featured in Wright’s 1889 living room.

Frank Lloyd Wright was an architect amidst a lot of material innovation, and finding new ways to use these materials was one of his strong suits. Just look at all of his work with concrete, from Unity Temple to the fascinating Ennis House in LA. Wright’s early career was developing at the same time as the mechanization of the glass industry. The first successful American plate glass was built in 1883. Wright designed his home in Oak Park in 1889. His extensive use of windows, along with flowing floor plans, transformed the way we think of space in architecture.

Looking exclusively at Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois, one gets a sense of Wright’s early journey to the art glass for which he is so well known. Wright built his Oak Park house in 1889 and built numerous additions in the following 20 years he lived there. Each of these features a new glass in its windows; the perfect encapsulation of his explorations in glass.

Scroll through the images to see the transformation from diamond pane to the exquisite skylight in Wright’s studio. Do you have a favorite?

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A lotus patterned glass was added to Wright’s dining room in 1895. It was adapted from a German glass journal but represents Wright’s eventual direction toward nature-inspired patterns.
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A square pattern was the first window pattern featured in the playroom Wright built in 1895.
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In 1905, the bay windows in the playroom were updated to this tulip pattern.
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Wright’s office window in the 1898 studio addition.
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Wright’s office skylight in the 1898 studio addition.
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The skylight in the 1898 studio addition’s reception hall.

Sources and Further Reading:

I’ve been lucky to catch the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio in a variety of weather and lighting. Check it out in last winter’s snow, here.

Unity Temple, just a 10 minute walk from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home & Studio, also features some art glass! Check out my blog on Unity here.

Interested in visiting the Home & Studio or Unity Temple? Head over to the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.

Another art glass, Tiffany glass, has been featured on my blog several times:

For some of the details in this post, I used Frank Lloyd Wright’s Glass Designs, a great little book by Carla Lind.

Also see this short piece on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Leaded Glass via the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.

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2 thoughts on “A Journey in the Art Glass of Frank Lloyd Wright

  1. […] Some count this as a failure of Wright’s, but in reality, he may have just been unlucky and a few decades too early: prefabricating housing had existed in a sense for some time but really took off following World War II. Let’s face it, Wright was at least a few decades ahead of his time. Just look at those open floor plans! Nevertheless, Wright never stopped his efforts to provide good design at an affordable price for the masses. He went on to develop the Usonian houses, so named for the “U. S. of A.,” design for all Americans. Wright developed things like his wood-cut windows for the Usonian houses, a more affordable twist on his well-known art glass. […]

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