architecture, architecture photography, downtown, frank lloyd wright, frank lloyd wright's laurent house, illinois, kenneth and phyllis laurent house, kenneth laurent, laurent house, organic architecture, photography, phyllis laurent, rockford, urban, urban history, urbanism, usonia, usonian architecture
this past summer, we had the utmost pleasure to travel along the great river road through illinois in search of the united states’ hidden heart. we found it in many places across the state, which has so much more to offer than the fantastic city of chicago.
our first stop was in rockford – more on that soon. however, just a quick drive from the center of illinois’ third largest city, a true gem can be found. in 1948, organic architecture mastermind frank lloyd wright secured the assignment to build a house commissioned by local couple kenneth and phyllis laurent. the task was particularly challenging, as only a few years earlier kenneth laurent had been rendered paralyzed and was dependent on using a wheelchair – hence the laurents’s new home needed to fully wheelchair-accesible, a task entirely new (and, ultimately, unique) to wright.
the home that wright created is a true masterpiece in melding the functional and the highly esthetic, and the laurent house stands in fantastic condition today. the single-story building sits beautifully on a green lot next to spring creek, and its focus, typical of wright’s usonian buildings, on local material like tidewater red-cypress and chicago common brick ties it deeply to its location in the united states’ heartland.
wright considered the laurent house to be amongs his most important works, and the laurents were the only family to ever live in it until kenneth’s death in 2012 – when the family had already taken steps for their home to be turned into a museum, as it stands today. these are our favorite shots from a truly remarkable building…
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