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E-Z Polish Factory, Frank Lloyd Wright 1905

Posted by George Pudlo on April 19, 2011 at 5:25 PM


E-Z Polish Factory

3005 W Carroll Avenue

Chicago, IL 60612

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the EZ Polish Factory in 1905. It is a rare example of a commercial structure designed in the Prairie Style by Frank Lloyd Wright. The commission for the EZ Polish Factory resulted from Wright's relationship with William Martin, for who he built the William Martin House in Oak Park in 1903. The commission for the William Martin House would lead to the commissioning of a house for William's brother, Darwin, as well as three other houses in Buffalo, New York. More importantly would be the commission for the Larkin Building -Wright's first large scale (and incredibly modern) commercial project that would launch his reputation as a serious architect. After the commission for the Larkin Building in Buffalo, New York, would come the commission for the EZ Polish Factory in Chicago. William Martin and his brother Darwin were partners in the Martin and Martin Stove Polish company. 

The EZ Polish Factory is currently in unhealthy condition. Parts of the exterior facade are crumbling, and the building has been altered from its original condition.  Air conditioners puncture the facade, as well as a series of windows that are not original. The EZ Polish Factory may have been a joy for Wright to design as he disliked windows and doors and considered them unsightly holes punched into his structures.

The building is structurally supported by steel reinforced concrete and faced in brick. It is no longer used for its original purpose of manufacturing shoe and stove polish. Despite being in poor condition, the EZ Polish Factory still has a modern exterior. Unlike the Abraham Lincoln Center that features a relatively flat facade, the EZ Polish Factory has clearly defined horizontal spandrels recessed behind vertical piers. Although the vertical piers are expressed on top of the spandrels, the building maintains a horizontal appearance in line with the Prairie Style of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Categories: Frank Lloyd Wright Chicago (IL), Large Commissions & Commercial Structures

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1 Comment

Reply Leighton
11:15 AM on April 6, 2013 
The building is now used for rehearsal / artist spaces

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