|Posted by George Pudlo on March 4, 2011 at 3:30 AM|
William Winslow House
515 Auvergne Place
River Forest, IL 60305
The Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois is one of the most dramatically beautiful houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. In pictures, the beauty is subtle, but in person you are just enthralled with its magnificence in design, form, and ornamentation. The Winslow House was built for William Herman Winslow and completed in 1894. Frank Lloyd Wright was acquainted with Winslow because of his business -the Winslow Brothers Iron Works, which created the metalwork for Daniel Burnham and John Root's Rookery Building, as well as Louis Sullivan's Carson Pirrie Scott Building. William Winslow lived in the Winslow House until his death in the 1930's.
The Winslow House by Frank Lloyd Wright was originally monochromatic -the base, plaster frieze, and roof were all of a similar color to the yellow Roman bricks that cover the base, and the limestone trim that surrounds the front door and and two central windows was also unpainted. Today, the Winslow House maintains the yellow color of the Roman bricks, the central limestone trim is painted white, the decorative plaster frieze is painted brown, and the roof is a lighter brown. The Winslow House was (is) extraordinary in design for the time that it was built. Some claim the Winslow House to be the first Prairie Style house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright because of its design and massing that are similar to the Prairie Style houses Frank Lloyd Wright would design a decade later. It has a low hipped roof; broad central chimney, and severely overhanging roof eaves.
The Winslow House additionally bears a great resemblance to the James Charnley House completed in 1892 in Chicago, Illinois. Like the Charnley House, the Winslow House is a tripartite structure, attributed to Sullivan's idea of the tall office building, with a clearly defined base, shaft, and capital. The Charnely House is built with Roman brick -Wright's first experimentation with the flat plane surface without ornament, and the Winslow House similarly has a recessed central door and windows surrounded by limestone.
Louis Sullivan's influence on Frank Lloyd Wright is still strongly seen, with the house being completed just a year after Frank Lloyd Wright left the firm of Adler & Sullivan. The ornamental plaster frieze, the carved oak ornament in the door, and the ornament on the porte cochere are all Sullivanesque. At a distance, the ornament is not the overwhelming visual feature of the home -instead it is the overhanging roof eaves complimented by the division of solid and void spaces. The plaster frieze is recessed between the roof and the base, which with the overhanging eaves, makes the roof appear to float overtop the base of the home. This home could easily be identified as a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 20th century, but it would be nearly another decade before Frank Lloyd Wright's fully mature Prairie Style would evolve.