William H. Winslow House (1893), River Forest, Illinois

Winslow House

Wright opened his own architectural practice in Chicago in 1893. William H. Winslow, publisher of House Beautiful, was his first client. The Winslow house has been called an essential step in the development of the Prairie House. It was here that Wright first developed the exterior forms and elevational concepts that would allow him to begin to give shape on the outside to the dynamic qualities of interior space.

Winslow House

The front of the house is completely symmetrical and formal in appearance. The masonry elements bear a foliage ornament in the style of Louis Sullivan. Roman brick is the basic material, while stone and plaster are also employed. The half-story space between the cornice topping the brick mass and the widely overhanging roof is filled with heavily textured dark brown terracotta panels. The windows take up the entire space of the terracotta panelling, extending from the cornice to the moulding under the roof. The result is that the roof seems to float above the brick mass, as though it were physically separated from the rest of the structure.

Winslow House Plan

The floor plan of the first (main) floor. Sleeping quarters are on the upper floor.

Winslow House, Drawing

This drawing of the Winslow House was prepared in 1910 for use in the porfolio of Wright’s drawings published in Germany by Ernst Wasmuth. Drawing copyright © 1985 the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

References: Frank Lloyd Wright by Robert McCarter; ©1997 Phaidon Press Limited; The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright by William Allin Storrer, ©1995 MIT Press


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