Portfolio of Selected Architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright

The Frederick C. Robie House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910

Raymond Boyd / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

During his long life, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed hundreds of buildings, including museums, churches, office buildings, private homes, and other structures. Known for visionary design choices and an eclectic style, he also designed interiors and textiles. This gallery features some of Wright's most famous works.

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1895: Nathan G. Moore House (Rebuilt in 1923)

The Nathan G. Moore House, built in 1895, designed and remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright, Oak Park, Illinois

Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

"We don't want you giving us anything like that house you did for Winslow," Nathan Moore told the young Frank Lloyd Wright. "I don't fancy sneaking down back streets to my morning train just to avoid being laughed at."

Needing money, Wright agreed to build the house at 333 Forest Avenue in Oak Park, Illinois in a style he found "repugnant": Tudor Revival. A fire destroyed the upper floor of the house, and Wright built a new version in 1923. However, he retained its Tudor flavor.

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1889: The Frank Lloyd Wright Home

West facade of Frank Lloyd Wright's Home in Oak Park, Illinois

Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust / Getty Images

Frank Lloyd Wright borrowed $5,000 from his employer, Louis Sullivan, to build the home where he lived for twenty years, raised six children, and launched his career in architecture.

Built in the Shingle Style, Frank Lloyd Wright's house—at 951 Chicago Avenue in Oak Park, Illinois—was very different from the Prairie Style architecture he helped pioneer. Wright's home was always in transition because he remodeled as his design theories changed.

Frank Lloyd Wright expanded the main house in 1895, and added the Frank Lloyd Wright Studio in 1898. Guided tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio are offered daily.

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1898: The Frank Lloyd Wright Studio

Frank Lloyd Wright's Studio, attached to his house in Oak Park, Illinois

Santi Visalli / Getty Images

Frank Lloyd Wright added a studio to his Oak Park home at 951 Chicago Avenue in 1898. Here, he experimented with light and form, and conceived the concepts of Prairie architecture. Many of his early interior architectural designs were realized here. At the business entrance, columns are decked with symbolic designs. According to the official guidebook for the Frank Lloyd Wright House and Studio:

"The book of knowledge issues from the tree of life, a symbol of natural growth. A scroll of architectural plans unrolls from it. On either side are sentry storks, perhaps symbols of wisdom and fertility."
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1901: Waller Estate Gates

The Waller Gates by Frank Lloyd Wright

Oak Park Cycle Club / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Developer Edward Waller lived in River Forest, a Chicago suburb near Oak Park—home of Frank Lloyd Wright. Waller also lived near William Winslow, the owner of Winslow Bros. Ornamental Ironworks. The 1893 Winslow House is known today as Wright's first experimentation with what became known as Prairie School design.

Waller became an early client of Wright's by commissioning the young architect to design a couple of modest apartment buildings in 1895. Waller then hired Wright to do some work on his own River Forest House, including designing the rusticated stone entrance gates at Auvergne and Lake Street, River Forest, Illinois.

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1901: Frank W. Thomas House

The Frank W. Thomas House, by Frank Lloyd Wright, in Oak Park, Illinois

 Raymond Boyd / Getty Images

The Frank W. Thomas House at 210 Forest Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois, was commissioned by James C. Rogers for his daughter and her husband, Frank Wright Thomas. In some ways, it resembles the Heurtley House. Both homes have leaded glass windows, an arched entryway, and a low, long profile. The Thomas house is widely considered Wright's first Prairie Style home in Oak Park. It is also his first all stucco home in Oak Park. Using stucco instead of wood meant that Wright could design clear, geometric forms.

The main rooms of the Thomas House are raised a full story above a high basement. The L-shaped floor plan of the house gives it an open view to the north and west, while obscuring a brick wall located on the south side. A "false door" is located just above the arched entryway.

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1902: Dana-Thomas House

The Susan Lawrence Dana Residence by Frank Lloyd Wright in Springfield, Illinois

Ann Fisher / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Susan Lawrence Dana—widow of Edwin L. Dana (who died in 1900) and heiress to the fortunes of her father, Rheuna Lawrence (who died in 1901)—inherited a house at 301-327 East Lawrence Avenue, Springfield, Illinois. In 1902, Mrs. Dana asked architect Frank Lloyd Wright to remodel the house she had inherited from her father.

No small job! After the remodel, the size of the house had expanded to 35 rooms, 12,600 square feet, plus a 3,100 square foot carriage house. In 1902 dollars, the cost was $60,000.

Publisher Charles C. Thomas bought the house in 1944 and sold it to the State of Illinois in 1981.

Prairie School Style

A famous architectural innovator, Wright prominently featured many Prairie School elements in his works. The Dana-Thomas House proudly displays several such elements, including:

  • Low pitched roof
  • Roof overhangs
  • Rows of windows for natural light
  • Open floor plan
  • Large central fireplace
  • Leaded art glass
  • Original Wright furniture
  • Large, open interior spaces
  • Built-in bookcases and seating
07
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1902: Arthur Heurtley House

The Arthur Heurtley House by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1902

Raymond Boyd / Michael Ochs Archives Collection / Getty Images

Frank Lloyd Wright designed this Prairie Style Oak Park home for Arthur Heurtley, who was a banker with a keen interest in the arts. The low, compact Heurtley House at 318 Forest Ave., Oak Park, Illinois, has variegated brickwork with vibrant color and rough texture. The vast hipped roof, a continuous band of casement windows along the second story, and a long low brick wall create the sensation that the Heurtley House embraces the earth.

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1903: George F. Barton House

The Prairie style George F. Barton House by Frank Lloyd Wright, in the Martin House complex, Buffalo, NY

Jaydec / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

George Barton was married to the sister of Darwin D. Martin, an executive at the Larkin Soap Company in Buffalo, New York. Larkin became a great patron of Wright's, but first, he used his sister's house at 118 Sutton Avenue to test out the young architect. The smaller Prairie house design is near Darwin D. Martin's much larger house.

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1904: Larkin Company Administration Building

The Larkin Company Administration Building, demolished in 1950 in Buffalo was part of a 2009 exhibition at the Guggenheim​

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

The Larkin Administration Building at 680 Seneca Street in Buffalo was one of the few large public buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Larkin Building was modern for its time, with conveniences like air conditioning. Designed and built between 1904 and 1906, it was Wright's first large, commercial enterprise.

Tragically, the Larkin Company struggled financially, and the building fell into disrepair. For awhile the office building was used as a store for Larkin products. Then, in 1950 when Frank Lloyd Wright was 83, the Larkin Building was demolished. This historic photograph is was part of the Guggenheim Museum 50th Anniversary Frank Lloyd Wright Exhibition.

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1905: Darwin D. Martin House

The Prairie Style Darwin D. Martin House by Frank Lloyd Wright in Buffalo

Dave Pape / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Darwin D. Martin had become a successful businessman at the Larkin Soap Company in Buffalo by the time the company's president, John Larkin, entrusted him with building the new administration building. Martin met with a young Chicago architect named Frank Lloyd Wright, and commissioned Wright to build a small house for his sister and her husband, George F. Barton, while creating plans for the Larkin Administration Building. 

Wealthier and two years older than Wright, Darwin Martin became a lifelong patron and friend of the Chicago architect. Taken with Wright's new Prairie Style house design, Martin commissioned Wright to design this residence at 125 Jewett Parkway in Buffalo, as well as other buildings, such as a conservatory and carriage house. Wright finished the complex by 1907.

Today, the main house is thought to be one of the finest examples of Wright's Prairie Style. Tours of the site begin at the Toshiko Mori-designed visitor's center, a comfortable glass pavilion built in 2009 to bring the visitor into the world of Darwin D. Martin and the Martin complex of buildings.

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1905: William R. Heath House

William R. Heath Residence in Buffalo by Frank Lloyd Wright

Tim Engleman / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The William R. Heath House at 76 Soldiers Place in Buffalo is one of several homes that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for executives from the Larkin Company.

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1905: Darwin D. Martin Gardener's Cottage

The Prairie Style Gardener's Cottage in the Darwin D. Martin complex in Buffalo by Frank Lloyd Wright

Jaydec / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Not all of Frank Lloyd Wright's early homes were large and extravagant. This seemingly simple cottage at 285 Woodward Avenue was built for the caretaker of the Darwin D. Martin complex in Buffalo.

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1906 to 1908: Unity Temple

Unity Temple interior by Frank Lloyd Wright, with ample use of open space

David Heald / The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

"The reality of the building is not in the four walls and roof but in the space enclosed by them to be lived in. But in Unity Temple (1904-05) to bring the room through was consciously a main objective. So Unity Temple has no actual walls as walls. Utilitarian features, the stair enclosures at the corners; low masonry screens carrying roof supports; the upper part of the structure on four sides a continuous window beneath the ceiling of the big room, the ceiling extending out over them to shelter them; the opening of this slab where it passed over the big room to let sunlight fall where deep shadow had been deemed "religious"; these were to a great extent the means employed to achieve the purpose."
(Wright 1938)

Unity Temple, at 875 Lake Street in Oak Park, Illinois, is a functioning Unitarian church. Wright's design is important in architectural history for two reasons: the outside and the inside.

Unity Temple Exterior

The structure is constructed of poured, reinforced concrete—a building method often promoted by Wright, and never before embraced by architects of sacred buildings.

Unity Temple Interior

Serenity is brought to interior space through particular elements of Wright's design choices:

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1908: Walter V. Davidson House

The Walter V. Davidson House by Frank Lloyd Wright, Buffalo, NY

Monsterdog77 / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Like other executives at the Larkin Soap Company, Walter V. Davidson asked Wright to design and build a residence for him and his family at 57 Tillinghast Place in Buffalo. The city of Buffalo and its vicinity has one of the greatest collections of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture outside of Illinois.

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1910: Frederic C. Robie House

The dining room in the interior of the Robie House

Farrell Grehan / Getty Images

Frank Lloyd Wright revolutionized the American home when he began to design Prairie Style houses with low horizontal lines and open interior spaces. The Robie House in Chicago has been called Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous Prairie house—and the beginning of modernism in the U.S.

Originally owned by Frederick C. Robie, a businessman and inventor, the Robie House has a long, low profile with linear white stones, and a wide, nearly flat roof and overhanging eaves.

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1911 to 1925: Taliesin

Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's summer home in Spring Green, Wisconsin

Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge / Getty Images

Frank Lloyd Wright built Taliesin as a new home and studio, and also as a refuge for himself and his mistress, Mamah Borthwick. Designed in the Prairie tradition, Taliesin (in Spring Green, Wisconsin) became a hub for creative activity, and a center of tragedy.

Until he died in 1959, Frank Lloyd Wright stayed at Taliesin in Wisconsin every summer, and Taliesin West in Arizona in the winter. He designed Fallingwater, the Guggenheim Museum, and many other important buildings from the Wisconsin Taliesin studio. Today, Taliesin remains the summer headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship, the school that Frank Lloyd Wright founded for apprentice architects.

What Does Taliesin Mean?

Frank Lloyd Wright named his summer home "Taliesin" after the early Brittonic poet in honor of his Welsh heritage. Pronounced Tally-ESS-in, the word means shining brow in Welsh. Taliesin is like a brow because it sets on the side of a hill.

Changes and Tragedies at Taliesin

Frank Lloyd Wright designed Taliesin for his mistress, Mamah Borthwick, but on August 15, 1914, the home became a bloodbath. A vengeful servant set the living quarters on fire and murdered Mamah and six other people. Writer Nancy Horan has chronicled Frank Lloyd Wright's affair and the death of his mistress in the fact-based novel, "Loving Frank."

The Taliesin estate grew and changed as Frank Lloyd Wright purchased more land and constructed more buildings. Also, in addition to the fire above, two more fires destroyed parts of the original structures:

  • April 22, 1925: An apparent electrical problem caused another fired in the living quarters.
  • April 26, 1952: A section of the Hillside building burned.

Today, the Taliesin estate has 600 acres, with five buildings and a waterfall designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The surviving buildings include:

  • Taliesin III (1925)
  • Hillside Home School (1902, 1933)
  • Midway Farm (1938)
  • Additional structures designed by students of the Taliesin Fellowship
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1917 to 1921: Hollyhock House (Barnsdall House)

The Hollyhock House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Carol M. Highsmith / Buyenlarge / Getty Images

Frank Lloyd Wright captured the aura of ancient Maya temples with stylized hollyhock patterns and projecting pinnacles at the Aline Barnsdall House. Located at 4800 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles and commonly known as the Hollyhock House, it was referred to by Wright as his California Romanza. This name suggested that the house was like an intimate piece of music.

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1923: Charles Ennis (Ennis-Brown) House

The Charles Ennis (Ennis-Brown) House, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1924

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Frank Lloyd Wright used stepped walls and textured concrete blocks called textile blocks for the Ennis-Brown house at 2607 Glendower Avenue in Los Angeles. The design of the Ennis-Brown home suggests pre-Columbian architecture from South America. Three other Frank Lloyd Wright houses in California are made with similar textile blocks. All were built in 1923: the Millard House, the Storer House, and the Freeman House.

The rugged exterior of the Ennis-Brown House became famous when it was featured in "House on Haunted Hill," a 1959 film directed by William Castle. The interior of the Ennis House has appeared in many movies and television shows, including:

  • "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
  • "Twin Peaks"
  • "Blade Runner"
  • "The Thirteenth Floor"
  • "Predator 2"

The Ennis House has not weathered well, and millions of dollars have gone into repairing the roof and stabilizing a deteriorating retaining wall. In 2011, billionaire Ron Burkle paid almost $4.5 million to purchase the house. After restorations, it was again listed for sale as of December 2018.

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1927: Graycliff by Frank Lloyd Wright

Graycliff, the Isabelle R. Martin House, by Frank Lloyd Wright, Derby, NY

Jaydec / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Frank Lloyd Wright designed a summer home for Larkin Soap executive Darwin D. Martin and his family. Overlooking Lake Erie, Graycliff is about 20 miles south of Buffalo, the Martins' home.

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1935: Fallingwater

Cantilevered living areas over Bear Run at Fallingwater in Pennsylvania

Jackie Craven

Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania may look like a loose pile of concrete slabs about to topple into the stream—but there is no danger of that! The slabs are actually anchored through the stonework of the hillside. Also, the largest and heaviest portion of the house is at the rear, not over the water. And, finally, each floor has its own support system.

After entering the recessed front door of Fallingwater, the eye is first drawn to a far corner, where a balcony overlooks the waterfall. To the right of the entryway, there is a dining alcove, a large fireplace, and stairs leading to the upper story. To the left, groups of seating offer scenic views.

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1936 to 1937: First Jacobs House

Usonian Style Herbert Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin

Carol M. Highsmith, Library of Congress, Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-highsm-40228

Frank Lloyd Wright designed two homes for Herbert and Katherine Jacobs. The First Jacobs House at 441 Toepfer Street in Westmorland, near Madison, Wisconsin, has brick and wood construction and glass curtain walls suggesting simplicity and harmony with nature. These elements introduced Wright's concepts of Usonian architecture. His later Usonian houses became more complex, but the First Jacobs House is considered Wright's purest example of Usonian ideas.

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1937+ at Taliesin West

Taliesin West, the sprawling, organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright at Shea Road in Scottsdale, Arizona

Hedrich Blessing Collection / Chicago History Museum / Archive Photos / Getty Images

Wright and his apprentices gathered desert rocks and sand to build this 600 acre complex near Scottsdale, Arizona. Wright envisioned Taliesin West as a bold new concept for desert living—"a look over the rim of the world" as organic architecture—and it was warmer than his summer home in Wisconsin.

The Taliesin West complex includes a drafting studio, a dining room and kitchen, several theaters, housing for apprentices and staff, a student workshop, and expansive grounds with pools, terraces, and gardens. Taliesin West is a school for architecture, but it also served as Wright's winter home until his death in 1959.

Experimental structures built by apprentice architects dot the landscape. The campus of Taliesin West continues to grow and change.

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1939 and 1950: The Johnson Wax Buildings

The Administration Building, globe, and cantilevered Johnson Wax Research Tower at the SC Johnson headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1950

Carol M. Highsmith / Buyenlarge / Getty Images

"There in the Johnson Building you catch no sense of enclosure whatever at any angle, top or sides. ... Interior space comes free, you are not aware of any boxing in at all. Restricted space simply is not there. Right there where you've always experienced this interior constriction you take a look at the sky!"
(Wright)

Like the Larkin Administration Building in Buffalo decades earlier, the Johnson Wax Buildings at 14th and Franklin Streets in Racine, Wisconsin connected Wright with wealthy patrons of his architecture. The Johnson Wax campus came in two parts:

Features of the Administration Building (1939):

  • Half-acre open space workroom with mushroom-like column supports
  • Circular elevators that run from the basement to top level
  • 43 miles of Pyrex glass tubes allow light in, but these "windows" are not transparent
  • More than 40 different pieces of furniture designed by Wright. Some chairs had only three legs and would tip over if workers became forgetful.
  • Dominant color: Cherokee Red

Features of the Research Tower (1950):

  • 153 feet tall
  • 14 floors
  • A central core (13 feet in diameter and 54 feet into the ground) supports the cantilevered floors. The glass exterior surrounds this core.
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1939: Wingspread

Wright's Wingspread, the Herbert F. Johnson House, is organically low to the ground, brick, and with a central chimney

Carol M. Highsmith / Buyenlarge / Getty Images

Wingspread is the name given to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residence of Herbert Fisk Johnson, Jr. (1899 to 1978) and his family. At the time, Johnson was the President of the Johnson Wax Company, founded by his grandfather. The design is inspired by the Prairie School, but with native American influences.

A central 30-foot chimney creates a multi-story wigwam at the center of four residential wings. Each of the four living zones was designed for specific functional uses (i.e. for adults, children, guests, servants).

Located at 33 East Four Mile Road in Racine, Wingspread was constructed with Kasota limestone, red Streator brick, tinted stucco, unstained tidewater cypress wood, and concrete. Typical Wright features include cantilevers and glass skylights, Cherokee red color decor, and Wright-designed furniture (like the iconic barrel chair).

Completed in 1939, all 14,000 square feet on 30 acres of Wingspread are now owned by the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread. Herbert F. Johnson also commissioned Wright to build the Johnson Wax Buildings, as well as commissioning I.M. Pei to design the 1973 Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

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1952: Price Tower

The Price Company Tower by Frank Lloyd Wright in Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Ben Russell / iStockPhoto

Frank Lloyd Wright modeled the H.C. Price Company tower—or, the "Price Tower"—after the shape of a tree. Located at N.E. 6th at Dewey Avenue in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the Price Tower is the only cantilevered skyscraper that Frank Lloyd Wright designed.

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1954: Kentuck Knob

Kentuck Knob, the Hagan House, by Frank Lloyd Wright

Mindy / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Lesser known than its neighbor at Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob on nearby Chalk Hill in Stewart township is a treasure to tour when you're in Pennsylvania. The country house designed for the Hagan family is a fine example of the organic architecture Wright had been advocating since 1894:

"A building should appear to grow easily from its site and be shaped to harmonize with its surroundings if nature is manifest there."
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1956: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church by Frank Lloyd Wright, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Henryk Sadura / iStockPhoto

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the circular church for the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Congregation in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin in 1956. As with Beth Sholom in Pennsylvania, which was Wright's only completed synagogue, the architect died before the church was completed.

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1959: Gammage Memorial Auditorium

Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium by Frank Lloyd Wright at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Alex Pang / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Frank Lloyd Wright drew from his plans for a cultural complex in Baghdad, when he designed the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium at Arizona State University in Tempe. Wright died in 1959, before construction of the hemicycle design was begun.

  • Constructed by R.E. McKee Company, El Paso, New Mexico
  • Built from 1962 to 1964
  • Cost $2.46 million
  • 80 feet (eight stories) high
  • 300 feet by 250 feet
  • Access: two pedestrian bridges, extending 200 feet
  • 3,000 seat Performance Hall
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1959: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright opened on October 21, 1959

Stephen Chernin / Getty Images

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed several semi-circular, or hemicycle, buildings, and Guggenheim Museum in New York City is his most famous. Wright's design went through many revisions. Early plans for the Guggenheim show a much more colorful building.

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2004: Blue Sky Mausoleum

Designed in 1928 for Darwin D. Martin, the headstone and epitaph of Frank Lloyd Wright describes Blue Sky Mausoleum

Dave Pape / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Blue Sky Mausoleum in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo is a clear example of Frank Lloyd Wright's organic architecture. The design is a terrace of stone steps, hugging a hillside toward a small pond below and open sky above. Wright's words are engraved on the headstone: "A burial facing the open sky...The whole could not fail of noble effect...."

Wright designed the memorial in 1928 for his friend, Darwin D. Martin, but Martin lost his fortune during the Great Depression. The memorial was not built in either man's lifetime. The Blue Sky Mausoleum, now a trademark of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, was eventually built in 2004. A very limited number of private crypts are being sold to the public—"the only opportunities in the world where one can choose memorialization in a Frank Lloyd Wright structure."

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2007, from 1905 and 1930 plans: Fontana Boathouse

The Prairie Style Fontana Boathouse by Frank Lloyd Wright in Buffalo

Mpmajewski / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the plans for the Fontana Boathouse in 1905. In 1930, he redrew the plans, changing the stucco exterior to concrete. However, the Fontana Boathouse was never built during Wright's lifetime. The Frank Lloyd Wright's Rowing Boathouse Corporation constructed the Fontana Boathouse on Black Rock Canal in Buffalo in 2007, based on Wright's plans.