About Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Laurent House is the only building that world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed for a disabled client. Designed in 1949, using his Usonian hemicycle style of intersecting arcs, this organic architecture drew on Wright’s life-time interest in Japanese art and architecture that married natural materials, such as the House’s Chicago common brick and Tidewater red cypress, with the indoor and outdoor environments.
Wright’s design was also influenced by the special needs of Kenneth Laurent, a disabled World War II veteran who was confined to a wheelchair. The wide doorways, low seating and other special features were over 40 years ahead of the American Disabilities act. Ken and his wife, Phylis, lived in the House from its completion in 1952 to 2012, during which Ken credited the House’s design in extending and giving quality to his life.
Shortly before his death in 1959, Wright selected the Laurent House as one of the 35 best designs of over 1,100 over his 70+ year career. With this designation, Wright awarded his much-coveted Red Tile that still adorns the House’s front entry. Calling the House, “My little gem,” Wright often visited enroute between Chicago and his home and studio, Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
In 2012, the Laurent House Foundation, an independent not-for-profit, purchased the House, the original architectural drawings, the Wright-designed furniture, and the Laurent’s personal effects. A two year extensive restoration followed.
Since it opened to the public in 2014, thousands of guests from 5 continents, 40 states and over 200 Illinois communities have visited the House. The Laurent House has garnered numerous preservation awards and accolades, including being considered the most complete and intact public Wright site in the world.