Prairie style homes date back to the late 19th century with angular aesthetics that are a testament to their artistic design that seems to surpass the test of time. The Prairie style increased in popularity with Frank Lloyd Wright’s help, a revered architect who wanted to create an all-American architectural design. But why were these home designs popular?
Prairie homes are known for their sturdy construction and low-profile build. However, many other specific details define the homes, including their roofing, layout and windows.
A flat roofline
The Prairie style home designs came in various sizes; however, one common element is their overhang awnings and low-pitched hipped roofs. You will notice more horizontal lines in Prairie homes. The roofs are flatter compared to other architectural designs with steep and gabled roofs. Gabled rooftops are necessary for areas that receive a lot of snow; however, they are not entirely necessary in the Midwest. Wide eaves added to the increasingly popular symmetrical designs that eventually rose to prominence and became landmark features.
They complement the landscape
Prairie style homes were designed to blend with the landscape and become one with nature. The low roof design helped the homes flow seamlessly with prairie landscapes from which the style gets its name.
Prairies home designs aren’t about creating elaborate exterior decorations to make the structure more beautiful. Instead, they are more about communicating the home’s sturdiness and durability. Therefore, you will likely see Prairie homes with simple external features with minimal structures and decorations.
Designed with a prominent foundation
Prairie homes were and are designed to stand the test of time. Every element in their design is meant to make the structure sturdier and less susceptible to damage from physical stress. You may notice the home’s firm foundation and use of solid and durable materials in the design.
The homes are built with an indoor to outdoor flow, meaning that the homes’ internal layout is designed to flow outwards. Plus, you are likely to see an incorporation of handcrafted woodwork that’s not overly detailed. The houses were fitted with minimal, essential furniture to help residents feel unbound.
Open and asymmetric floor plans
Prairie style homes have an informal or asymmetric floor plan. This design allows residents more space and freedom, letting them decide where and how to place the furniture. You may notice that the homes are more interesting visually and have a casual feel.
Massive walls of windows
The goal of the design was to help bring residents closer to nature, and as such, one thing that you are bound to notice is the home’s large and numerous windows. The windows let in natural light and allow residents to enjoy nature.
Prairie style homes: Lang House and the Emil Bach House
If you would like to experience living in a Prairie style home, you could book a stay in the Lang House Chicago, designed by Edgar M. Newman in 1919, or the Emil Bach House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1915.
This year, Emil Bach House is featured in “Wright Along the Lake,” an exclusive small group tour that starts at the magnificent Rookery Building, a UNESCO World Heritage nomination in the heart of the city’s downtown financial district. The tour includes Wright’s Rookery Light Court, designed in 1905 and Daniel Burnham’s Private Library Office located on the 11th floor of the building, where Wright also had an office.
The tour continues north on Lake Shore Drive, past Lincoln Park, a jewel in Chicago’s “green necklace” of public parks, an essential feature of Daniel Burnham’s grand plan for the city. The next stop is Emil Bach House, where you will enjoy an introduction to the home and grounds led by an experienced interpreter from the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. The tour’s final destination is the Frederick C. Robie House, Wright’s most famous and influential Prairie design, now inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list of Wright’s iconic buildings.
In addition, the Lang House Chicago will be featured in Open House Chicago on October 16th and 17th for public tours. Can’t make Open House Chicago? The home will be available on several dates for small group tours via advanced ticket purchase. Information on the tours will be announced soon.
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