In our second part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Across America, we are picking up in Oklahoma and dropping off in California! Get ready to continue an architecturally awesome adventure!
Frank Lloyd Wright is the most famous American Architect in history, a Modern Design guru that invented more than half the building blocks of styles we use popularly today during his lifetime. His architecture has inspired many other architects, designers, and even artists, and his spirit of ingenuity still thrives within the United States, and the world, today. - Part 1
Part 2: Oklahoma to California
- Price Tower - Bartlesville, Oklahoma
The first stop on your second leg of the journey is Price Tower, Frank Lloyd Wright's only skyscraper. Oftentimes called the 'tree that escaped a crowded forest,' this 1956 Bartlesville masterpiece is a truly amazing sight to see. 221 feet tall with 19 stories within, this cantilever-designed stunning cloud grazer has a distinct set of 4 interior vertical shafts, meaning there are also 4 separate verticle quadrants, each with their own elevator. The shapes are mostly triangular and the exterior walls rest on the floors of the space. There are intricate staircases and kitchens around every corner, not to mention all the 'hidden features'.
One of the most remembered elements of this FLW design is the oxidized copper louvers, highly reminiscent of green branches. Today you can enjoy an Art Center, apartments, offices, and even the onsite eatery and inn. There are plans to complete a new complimentary tower to house an educational facility, as well, under the design of well-known architect Zaha Hadid.
- Taliesin West- Scottsdale, Arizona
Wright's former residence and winter home, Taliesin West, is a Scottsdale desert gem waiting to be explored. This 'desert laboratory' is a national Historic Landmark located in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains, today the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.
Completed in 1937, this home first served as the headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship, a busy home life for Wright but one that he truly loved while in Arizona. Sometimes called a 'utopian world unto itself', this home has an essentially Frank Lloyd Wright elemental connection with the desert surroundings, over 620 acres of organic architecture on the spot. This is one of the most personal Wright creations as well, himself doing almost all of the building and maintaining the home.
Enjoy the 'long, low, sweeping lines, uptilting planes, and surface patterned after such a color in patterns of a rattlesnake...', an overall absolutely stunning building that gives what FLW himself called
'A look over the rim of the world'.
- Hollyhock House - Los Angeles, California
The Hollyhock House is best defined in style and design as 'California Romanza', the latter musical word roughly translating into 'freedom to make one's own form'. That is exactly what Wright did at this location, a 1921 completed stunner of a building designed for Aline Barnsdall, an oil magnates heiress. Located specifically in the Barnsdall Art Park in east Hollywood, this technically Mayan Revival Architecture and Textile Block House is most famously known for its expansive outdoor space, a major design component for FLW.
Open 11-4 for self-guided tours, this, FLW's first L.A perfect, will show you some of the best views of the city from the rooftop terraces and gardens, the Southern California architecture style similar to the surroundings yet again, the area dry, temperate, and full of unique flora. Gardens, a central garden court, glass doors, porches, pergolas, and colonnades make this floor plan extremely open to the exterior overall, each area having equal interior and exterior space.
Initially, this 36 acre Olive Hill home was intended to have an additional theater, director's house, actor dorm, artist studio, and motion picture theater built in, but due to artistic differences between the two designers, they were left out. Fortunately, today the spot does serve as a functional arts complex, ringing true to the original buyer's desires! Be sure to check out all the intricate Hollyhock flower aspects on the furnishings and designs throughout the home, the flower being Aline's favorite.
- Marin County Civic Center - San Rafael, California
Frank Lloyd Wright's long, low, and horizontally curved masterpiece in San Rafael will end
your exciting architectural road trip, the building going by the name of Marin County Civic Center. Used as public offices today, the building was originally finished in 1962, Wright himself only seeing two years of construction as he sadly passed about in 1959 (construction 1957-1962). The design stays true to Wright's best work, a non-imposing building that blends with its natural surroundings, this spot actually being barely noticeable from the freeway. The circular geometry and large center arch mixed with the blue roof sky and surrounding domes give it a feel of being one with the ground and hills, a truly beautiful building accomplishment.
Though he didn't witness it in completion this was one of the only buildings to be state sponsored by Wright, his 770th and final commission, of which we can best leave you with this description:
'In Marin County you will find the most beautiful landscapes i've seen and i'm proud to make the building of this county characteristic of the beauty of the county.' - FLW