Prairie House (Style Spotlight)

Prairie School house style

By Bud Dietrich, AIA

As the 19th century waned and the 20th century was dawning, a group of architects and designers in the Upper Midwest banded together to form the Prairie School. An entirely new approach to domestic design, the Prairie School featured a new language. Rooms made of four walls and small holes for windows were replaced with cantilevered roofs, floating planes, bands of windows and open corners to create spaces that would be all open and light and bright.

The most famous of the Prairie School architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, designer of such iconic houses as Robie, Willits, Coonley, Martin and more, Wright's designs served as the basis for the International Style and today's modernism. A line can be easily drawn from Wright to Mies to the best of today's modern aesthetic.

Let's take a look at this enduring style and see how it continues to influence domestic design in our time.

Getting it Wright: Today's Prairie Style
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Prairie House (Style Spotlight)

The Huertley House of 1902 designed by Frank Lloyd Wright represents an early Prairie style home. The hip roof with deep overhangs, emphasis on horizontal lines, ribbon windows and central chimney mass are all features of the style.

This new Prairie style home in California features hip roofs, casement windows tight to the underside of the roof overhang and trim to emphasize the horizontal. The angled, battered walls tie this home to the landscape in true Prairie fashion.

Here is a Texas variation on the Prairie style. The trademark hip roof with deep overhangs is a constant no matter the location of the style.

The layering one on top of the other in this home is a distinct variation on the Prairie style.

In today's updated Prairie style, the entrances often soar out to greet visitors.


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