Art and Architecture, Books for the News, Chicago

Lost architecture reclaimed

jacket imageTwenty-nine houses could be added to the Frank Lloyd Wright catalog of built work. The houses in question are all in suburban Chicago and include two in Berwyn, one each in Wilmette and Glen Ellyn, and an incredible twenty-four houses in River Forest, all on the 700 block of William Street. A group of researchers led by William Allin Storrer has gone public with the claim that Wright designed these homes during a period of his life when attributing a design to him would have detracted from the salability of the house.
Chicago Tribune architectural critic Blair Kamin discussed the claims in a story in yesterday’s edition. The houses have previously been attributed to other Prairie School architects, but examination of both interior and exterior details has led the research team to conclude that Wright designed them. The houses date from the 1910s; during this period Wright was a social outcast in the Chicago area because of the scandal of his affair with Mamah Cheney, wife of client Edwin Cheney.
Photos of all the houses and many more details are available on Storrer’s website, the FLlW Update. We have published two books by Storrer, The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Catalog and The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion. The early twentieth-century period of Wright’s professional life is examined in Anthony Alofsin’s Frank Lloyd Wright—the Lost Years, 1910-1922. We have also published Meryle Secrest’s biography, Frank Lloyd Wright and a volume of Blair Kamin’s columns, Why Architecture Matters.