Although it's been more than 50 years since the death of Frank Lloyd Wright, the work of America's preeminent architect has never really gone out of style. Wright's environmentally harmonious "organic architecture" ranges from the all-American Prairie style to the sculptural heft of the Guggenheim Museum. Some 300 of his buildings survive today, and a good number are open to the public. Here are five of the architect's most iconic works, all worth a visit.
1. Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania
Built in the mountains of Pennsylvania in the 1930s as the retreat for a family of Pittsburgh department store owners, Fallingwater is a voluptuous expression of Wright's organic architecture. It melds the man-made with the natural in an expansive indoor/outdoor flow, with cantilevered terraces built out over a gushing waterfall. Tours are offered from March through December.
2. The Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York
There's nothing on New York City's Fifth Avenue like the Guggenheim — a spiral of swirling, creamy concrete. Wright worked on the museum for 16 years but died just before it was completed. A geometric masterpiece, it's designed so that you can zip up in an elevator and view the collection from the top down, leisurely descending a ramp that resembles a chambered nautilus. The museum's permanent collection of modern art and its changing exhibitions are world-renowned.
3. Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona
Set in the Sonoran Desert near Scottsdale, this was Wright's winter home. Today the site houses the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Its form is an extension of the desert landscape — what Wright referred to as "the long, low lines of colorful, windswept terrain." He was inspired by the patterns of rattlesnakes, chameleons and cacti in much of the design and used desert rocks to shape the walls. Tours are offered daily between 9 and 4.
4. Robie House, Chicago, Illinois
Built in 1910 for a young Chicago businessman, Frederick C. Robie, Robie House is a prime example of Wright's Prairie style, a poem to the low-slung horizontality of the American prairie. Located on the University of Chicago campus, the residence features Wright's distinctive art-glass windows. Wright also designed the house's furniture, light fixtures, tapestries and rugs. Tours are available Thursday through Monday.
5. Hollyhock House, Los Angeles, California
The prairie comes to California in this landmark house, built for an oil heiress and completed in 1923 in a style that Wright called "California Romanza." Constructed of reinforced concrete, it has a Mayan-style facade with geometrical motifs of hollyhocks throughout. It celebrates the California indoor/outdoor lifestyle with rooms that are visually — and sometimes literally — connected to outside spaces at every turn. It's also set on a hill with sensational views of Los Angeles. The house is currently closed for restoration, but is expected to reopen.
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