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Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The William Winslow House; 1894


The William Winslow house is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s first independent commissions following his dismissal from the Sullivan and Adler architectural firm in Chicago, Illinois. Constructed in 1894, the Winslow home is considered to be a prelude to Wright’s evolving style and the beginning of his prairie house design. Due to it’s historical significant in American architecture, the Winslow house is considerably more well-known than any previous homes designed by Wright.


Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The William Winslow House of River Forest, Illinois

Located in River Forest, Illinois; the Winslow house is one of Wright’s first attempts at reinventing the traditional house. At first glance, the house appears to be of a simple box form. However, further examination shows us that big, grand things come in small, simple packages.

When designing the William Winslow house, Frank Lloyd Wright worked from the outside in. He designed the exterior of the home and then designed the floor plan to fit within.

Guests of the home are immediately drawn visually to the centrally located door framed by two windows and white trim. Wright also adds a centrally located (when viewing from the front,) long and low chimney, a low hipped roof and double hung windows (which, one source states that Wright referred to these windows as being “like guillotines.”)

Wright used horizontal details in several areas of the home’s facade, including his visual separation of the first and second floors. Working from the ground up, he chose cast stone coping, topped by Roman brick—which is longer than it is tall. He then followed up these choices with a grand tiled pattern for the second floor, dividing each floor with white trim; which adds to the overall horizontal pattern of the home.

The interior of the home is just as grand as the exterior, though the interior details are much more ornate. Entering the home, guests are greeted by a grand reception hall with built-in seating. Additionally, the first floor of the home also features the standard elements of any home: a kitchen, dining room and living room with a polygonal bay, as seen in many of his designs of the era. There is also a library, porch and a conservatory.

The William Winslow House Today

The William Winslow home was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Like many of Wright’s residential works; it has remained a private home throughout the years. Therefore, visitors who wish to view the home should be respectful of the current owners’ privacy.