CULTURE & ARTS
06/08/2017 09:04 am ET

20 Of America's Greatest Frank Lloyd Wright Creations

On his 150th birthday, a digital tour of the architect's best designs.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (Kaufmann House) in Mill Run, Pennsylvania (1934–37).
The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (Kaufmann House) in Mill Run, Pennsylvania (1934–37).

After Frank Lloyd Wright died in 1959, an obituary described him as “the great radical of American architecture.”

During his lifetime, Wright condemned the “lust for ugliness” he saw in the sky-scraping landscapes and boxed suburban sprawls of the United States. “Mr. Wright scathingly condemned the topless towers of New York,” the obituary reads. “He had no use for the great steel and stone cities.” He didn’t care for American “box” houses, either, declaring them “more of a coffin for the human spirit than an inspiration.”

Instead, Wright preferred the low, integrated structures of a style dubbed “prairie architecture,” a term the famously arrogant artist would later reject. His organic, functional and mostly modest aesthetic would come to define the concrete office buildings and family homes he’s left scattered across the country. One-hundred and fifty years after Wright’s birth in Wisconsin, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is paying tribute to this Midwestern brand of radical art by showcasing more than 400 of Wright’s designs. 

According to estimates, Wright produced over 1,171 architectural works during the course of his tumultuous career, of which 511 were built ― an astounding feat for an architect whose life was upended at various points by death, destruction, financial ruin and his own reckless behavior. Today, the man who began his career as a draftsman in Chicago, Illinois, is well associated with homes like Fallingwater and behemoth spaces like New York’s Guggenheim Museum. But MoMA’s scope is bigger, drawing attention to seven decades worth of his architectural drawings, models and building fragments, as well as his furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photos and scrapbooks, some never seen before. 

In honor of Wright’s 150th birthday, we’ve put together a digital tour of 20 of his greatest American works, filled with sketches and archival images of some of his most revered designs. If you can’t make it to MoMA’s exhibition, you can celebrate one of America’s greatest architects here.

Winslow House (River Forest, Illinois)

Frank Lloyd Wright's Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois (1893–94).
The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
Frank Lloyd Wright's Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois (1893–94).
Raymond Boyd via Getty Images

Darwin Martin House (Buffalo, New York)

Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, New York (1903–06).
The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York
Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, New York (1903–06).
Photo 12 via Getty Images

Unity Temple (Oak Park, Illinois)

Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois (1905–08).
The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York
Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois (1905–08).
Chicago History Museum via Getty Images

Fallingwater/Kaufmann House (Mill Run, Pennsylvania)

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (Kaufmann House) in Mill Run, Pennsylvania (1934–37).
The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (Kaufmann House) in Mill Run, Pennsylvania (1934–37).
Richard A. Cooke III via Getty Images

Ennis House (Los Angeles, California)

Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House in Los Angeles, California (1924–25).
The Museum of Modern Art Avery Architectural Fine Arts Library Columbia University New York
Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House in Los Angeles, California (1924–25).
Jim Steinfeldt via Getty Images

Jacobs House (Madison, Wisconsin)

Frank Lloyd Wright's Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin (1936–37). 
The Museum of Modern Art Avery Architectural Fine Arts Library Columbia University New York
Frank Lloyd Wright's Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin (1936–37). 
Chicago History Museum via Getty Images

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church (Wauwatosa, Wisconsin)

 Frank Lloyd Wright's Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin (1955–61).
The Museum of Modern Art Avery Architectural Fine Arts Library Columbia University New York
 Frank Lloyd Wright's Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin (1955–61).
Raymond Boyd via Getty Images

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, New York)

Frank Lloyd Wright's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, New York (1943–59).
The Museum of Modern Art Avery Architectural Fine Arts Library Columbia University New York
Frank Lloyd Wright's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, New York (1943–59).
Raymond Boyd via Getty Images

Robie House (Chicago, Illinois)

Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust via Getty Images
Raymond Boyd via Getty Images

Hollyhock House (Los Angeles, California)

Lawrence K. Ho via Getty Images
Ted Soqui via Getty Images

Arthur Heurtley House (Oak Park, Illinois)

Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust via Getty Images
John Gress via Getty Images

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (Oak Park, Illinois)

Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust via Getty Images
UniversalImagesGroup via Getty Images

F. F. Tomek House (Riverside, Illinois)

Raymond Boyd via Getty Images
Raymond Boyd via Getty Images

Taliesin East (Spring Green, Wisconsin)

Chicago History Museum via Getty Images
Buyenlarge via Getty Images

Taliesin West (Scottsdale, Arizona)

Chicago History Museum via Getty Images
DEA / L. ROMANO via Getty Images

Pope-Leighey House (Alexandria, Virginia)

The Washington Post via Getty Images
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Price Tower (Bartlesville, Oklahoma)

Bettmann via Getty Images
Frank Lloyd Wright's model for the unfinished St. Mark’s Tower, similar to the final design of the Price Tower.
The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York
Frank Lloyd Wright's model for the unfinished St. Mark’s Tower, similar to the final design of the Price Tower.

Dana-Thomas House (Springfield, Illinois)

Raymond Boyd via Getty Images
Buyenlarge via Getty Images

Wingspread (Wind Point, Wisconsin)

Buyenlarge via Getty Images
Patrick Grehan via Getty Images

Rosenbaum House (Florence, Alabama)

Buyenlarge via Getty Images
Buyenlarge via Getty Images

Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive” is on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City from June 12 to October 1.

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