Frank Lloyd Wright’s life story is intimately entwined with his home state. To Wisconsin he left a built legacy unmatched by any other area, spanning more than seven decades.
He built houses there--both simple and elaborate, from the cozy Richards Bungalow in Milwaukee to his beloved Taliesin. His Usonian house concept and his House for a Family of $5,000-$6,000 Income highlighted in the September 26, 1938, LIFE magazine were first constructed in Wisconsin. He built several lakeside residences there. He built schools in Wisconsin, including the 1887 Hillside Home School and the 1956 Wyoming Valley Grammar School, not to mention his own school at Taliesin. He built religious buildings for both the Greek Orthodox and Unitarian faiths. He built commercial and industrial buildings for Albert Dell German and for the S.C. Johnson Company, and a tall building, one of only two he ever constructed. He built apartment buildings in Wisconsin—the Munkwitz (demolished in 1973) and Richards Duplex Apartments (restored) in Milwaukee, and experimented with the American System-Built Homes and the Erdman Prefabricated Homes projects. He worked out his cast concrete ornamental friezes on both the A.D. German Warehouse and the Bogk House.
And these are just some examples of the rich and varied assortment of designs he scattered around the state. Many more structures envisioned for the state remain only as dreams on paper. This conference seeks to view Wright’s relationship with his home state through the lens of Wisconsin as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laboratory.