6 Virtual Tours of Stunning Frank Lloyd Wright Homes

We know there are questions around travel amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read our note here.

Thanks to a joint effort between the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, and the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation, touring iconic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed properties is now easier than ever. You don’t even have to leave your house, let alone trek to each location. Through an initiative called Wright Virtual Visits, which shares tour videos online of more than 20 Wright buildings, you can enjoy the famed architect's work from almost anywhere. Check out these tours of six homes designed by Wright in popular cities around the country.

Taliesin West, Arizona

Taliesin West, the landmark winter home and school of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Credit: netdesignate/ Pixabay

In the winter, Wright left his home state of Wisconsin to enjoy nicer weather at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. The 1937 home, called Taliesin West, is now both a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wright initially intended to make the property a utopic complex reflecting the surrounding desert expanse, using only materials found locally to construct it. Taliesin West has since been updated with permanent, stronger materials during renovations and add-ons. Wright spent every winter at Taliesin West until he died in 1959.

Watch the tour here.

Emil Bach House, Illinois

The Emil Bach House, a Prairie style house, in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois
Credit: Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock

Located in Rogers Park, the northernmost neighborhood of Chicago, the Emil Bach House exists because of a previous Wright-designed home nearby. The original house, commissioned by the Steffens family in 1909, was purchased by a brickyard worker named Otto Bach. His brother, Emil (later the president of Bach Brick Company), loved the house so much that he commissioned his own from Wright in 1915. It’s a compact, prairie-style home with design elements that would later become Wright’s signature style in the future, including details such as modern window and geometric shapes. Bach lived in the home until 1934, and it’s currently a vacation rental and event venue.

Watch the tour here.

Hollyhock House, California

Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, California
Credit: Wangkun Jia/ Shutterstock

Built in 1917, the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles was Wright's first building on the West Coast. It was commissioned by Aline Barnsdall, the heir of a massive oil company, who approached Wright while he was embroiled in controversy and personal scandal. Barnsdall wanted a home that was half-house, half-garden, and Wright achieved that with terraces, pergolas, and colonnades. But Barnsdall’s full original vision never actually came to fruition; she wanted a complex of theaters, stores, and houses to create an avant-garde theater retreat. Barnsdall and Wright disagreed over finances and artistic vision, and the project stalled after just three homes were built (including Hollyhock).

Watch the tour here.

The Burnham Block, Wisconsin

2900 block of W. Burnham St. on Milwaukee's south side
Credit: The Washington Post / Getty Images

Throughout his career, Wright was a champion of affordable housing. He found a unique joy in designing for low-income and moderate-income families, a sentiment he put to work in houses called “American system-built homes.” The idea was to have all construction pieces cut in a factory, then shipped to the homesite for building. Out of more than 900 sketches for these homes, six example properties were built on the 2700 block of West Burnham in Milwaukee. The homes were constructed in 1915 and 1916 but didn't have any actual buyers until 1919.

Watch the tour here.

Laurent House, Illinois

The Laurent House with lights on
Credit: Bluefish815/ CC-BY-SA-4.0

Located a little more than an hour outside Chicago, the Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois, was Wright’s first fully accessible home. It was built in 1952 for a World War II veteran named Ken Laurent, who was paralyzed during a medical procedure. Laurent and his wife, Phyllis, had a long-distance relationship when they commissioned the house; Ken lived closer to Chicago in a rehabilitation facility and traveled to Rockford on the weekends to see Phyllis in their original (non-accessible) home. The Laurent House was designed with Ken's needs and unique perspective in mind, and every detail — from the height of the doorknobs to the overall floor plan — reflects that.

Watch the tour here.

Martin House, New York

A statue of Nike of Samothrace presides over the conservatory at the Martin House, Buffalo, New York
Credit: The Washington Post / Getty Images

Depending on whom you ask, the Martin House in Buffalo, New York, may be Wright’s crowning achievement of his prairie-style body of work. The property actually has six buildings: the main Martin House, which is connected by a pergola to a conservatory and carriage house, a smaller house for Martin’s sister, and a gardener’s cottage. Construction on the main house was completed in 1905, and the entire complex was finished in 1909. Inside the complex, there are nearly 400 examples of Wright’s iconic art glass.

Watch the tour here.

Share this article:

More from the Blog

Related article image

5 International TV Shows and Movies to Binge-Watch This Winter

Related article image

20 Underrated State Parks in the U.S.

Related article image

12 Authentic Caribbean Dishes You Need to Try