Frank Lloyd Wright Homes in Silicon Valley

American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, designed over 1,000 structures in his career, 532 of which were built. Wright’s founding design principles were grounded in what he coined as organic architecture, where buildings were in harmony with man and the environment. One of his best-known works is Fallingwater, a residence in Pennsylvania built for Edgar Kaufmann Sr. whose son studied briefly under Wright. This home has also been immortalized by Danish toy company, Lego, and has been called “the best all-time work of American architecture”.

In February of this year, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and nine other buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright were designated by the United States to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.

Recently, another of Wright’s creations made news after a 4 year, multi-million dollar renovation. The Hollyhock House in East Hollywood was designed for Pennsylvania oil heiress Aline Barnsdall. Named for her love of hollyhocks, patterns of the flower were incorporated throughout the 17-room home. The very first home Wright built in Los Angeles, this ‘California romanza’ style is a forerunner of modernism in the area.

Many of Wright’s architectural works can be found in the Silicon Valley as well. The Hanna House in Stanford and the Arthur Matthews House in Atherton are just two local residences though there are many in the Bay Area and throughout California.

The Hanna House was designed in 1936 for Stanford University professor Paul Hanna who wanted an inexpensive home for his growing family of seven. Originally priced at $15,000, the final price tag was over twice that amount. Also called the ‘Honeycomb House’ because of it’s front of glass panelled hexagonal-shaped bays surrounding a brick chimney, it is recognized by the American Institute of Architects as one of seventeen of Wright’s designs that signify his influence on American culture. Though this ‘Usonian design’ constructed of redwood and brick was intended to be affordable for Middle America because of it’s minimal ornamentation and lack of an attic and basement, it eventually became too pricey for this demographic. The Hanna family donated the home to the University in 1975. It served as the provost’s home until 1989 when it was severely damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake. It was closed for almost ten years during which time it was seismically retrofitted. Located at 737 Frenchman’s Road in Stanford, tours are available by reservation.

The Arthur Matthews House is constructed of brick and wood with a layout based upon the shape of a diamond. Also Usonian in style, it was created in 1950 and is a private residence located on Wisteria Way in Atherton.

Other notable Wright buildings in the Silicon Valley include the Marin County Civic Center, V.C. Morris Gift Store, and the Robert Berger House.