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14 Things You Never Knew About Frank Lloyd Wright’s Work

Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most important architects of all time, but how well do you really know the famous man's work?

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Courtesy, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Happy 150th, Frank Lloyd Wright

It’s the 150th anniversary of the birth of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. He designed 1,171 architectural works, 511 of which were realized. During his lifetime he redefined the country’s architectural identity. In celebration of the anniversary, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation will host a series of events, exhibitions, programs and activities. Here, 14 things you have never known about Wright’s buildings.

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Courtesy, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

His winter home is a tourist draw

Over 100,000 visitors from around the world visit Taliesin West, Wright’s winter home and studio in Scottsdale, Arizona, every year. These free tourist attractions in every state are also popular with tourists.

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Courtesy, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

It’s also one of his personal favorites

Taliesin is considered one of the architect’s most personal creations; it was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices.

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Courtesy, Andrew Pielage

Taliesin is built on his grandparents’ land

Wright built Taliesin on his favorite boyhood hill nestled along the Wisconsin River valley, which was actually homesteaded by his Welsh grandparents. He named it in honor of them; Taliesin being Welsh for “Shining Brow.”

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Courtesy, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

He originally envisioned the Guggenheim in red

Frank Lloyd Wright first proposed red marble for the facade of New York City’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. He said, “Red is the color of Creation.” He also wanted a glass elevator in the building.

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Courtesy, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

He proposed gold leaf for Falling Water

Frank Lloyd Wright once suggested that the famous house in Mill Run, Pennsylvania have concrete surfaces coated in gold leaf.

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Courtesy, Manya Fox

He inspired Hitchcock

His Holly Hock House in Los Angeles was the inspiration behind the fictional Vandamm residence at Mount Rushmore in the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest.

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Courtesy, Libby Garrison

The Marin County Civic Center was his biggest and last

The Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, California was Frank Lloyd Wright’s last commission and largest public project. It was completed after his death. Today, it’s a popular and unexpected place to get married.

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Courtesy, Caitlin Deibel

Martin House has 400 art glass windows

The Darwin Martin House in Buffalo, New York, is considered among the most important designs of Wright’s career and is the largest and most highly developed Prairie house on the east coast. There are almost 400 art glass windows throughout the complex; in fact, more patterns of art glass were designed for the Martin House than for any other of Wright’s Prairie Houses. The windows were created to act as light screens to visually connect exterior views with the spaces within.

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Courtesy, Manya Fox

He was a detail-oriented perfectionist

To be 100 percent true to the period, the Hollyhock House library contains historically appropriate books that have been donated by local Los Angelenos.

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Courtesy, Sue Cox

Even furniture had to match the exteriors

Wright was adamant about using equilateral triangles as a recurring design element at Palmer House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he included built-in hexagon-shaped beds (six equilateral triangles).

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Courtesy, Hannah Walters

One home had a private zoo

At one time, the Fabyan Villa in Geneva, Illinois estate included a Japanese garden, private zoo, Roman-style swimming pool, lighthouse, country club, quarry, farm, gardens, grottoes, greenhouses, and an amphitheater. You can still tour the house and the Japanese garden. Here’s how to create a lovely garden of your own.

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Courtesy, Marta Wojcik

He thought of everything

At the time when the Wescott House in Springfield, Ohio was being designed and constructed, cars were unable to reverse, so Wright incorporated a turntable similar to those found in train yards that would turn the car around upon exiting the garage.

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Courtesy, Marta Wojcik

It was turned into an apartment building

First built in 1908, the Westcott House was turned into an apartment building in the 1940s and “lost” as a Wright artifact. It underwent a four-year long restoration and opened as a museum in 2005.

Judy Koutsky
Judy Koutsky is a New York-based writer and editor covering health, lifestyle and travel. Her award-winning articles have appeared in over 30 publications including RD.com, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Oprah.com, Parents, Forbes.com, Shape, USA Today, Prevention, Good Housekeeping, Web MD and Scholastic. You can see her writing at JudyKoutsky.com or follow her on Instagram at @JudyKoutsky