Just a few miles west from Optima Signature®, in the heart of Oak Park, sits a quiet, residential gem that stands as yet another testament to the genius of America’s most iconic architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. This architectural marvel, the Arthur Heurtley House, isn’t just a house, but an embodiment of Wright’s early Prairie School style that continues to endure as a remarkable example of design innovation and integrity.
Constructed in 1902 during a transformative epoch in Wright’s illustrious career, the Heurtley House is an expression of Wright’s creative evolution. The robust brick structure and distinct horizontal orientation lay over the landscape seamlessly, epitomizing Wright’s commitment to designing in sympathy with nature – a signature of his design philosophy.
Look closer, and the house’s intricate design elements come into sharp focus. The low-pitched hip roof with deep overhangs, the bands of art glass windows, and the central chimney mass all contribute to an emphasis on the home’s horizontality while offering an elegant vertical counterpoint. The material palette – a medley of Roman brick, limestone, and plaster – not only reinforces the building’s robust character but also harmonizes the house with its environment, establishing continuity that is both visually striking and inviting.
Inside, the Heurtley House continues to narrate the story of Wright’s architectural vision. The choice of natural materials, from the art glass windows to wooden trims and panels, exudes a warm, homey charm. The open floor plan, a distinctive characteristic of Wright’s Prairie style, allows a free flow of space and the dining room has a vaulted, wood banded ceiling with a prow shaped bay of art glass and a ribbon of leaded windows facing west, seamlessly inviting a flood of natural light.
The interior furnishings, custom-designed by Wright as part of the home’s construction, ensure a consistent aesthetic narrative throughout the house. This meticulously detailed approach, down to the furniture, reveals Wright’s relentless pursuit of architectural harmony and holistic design.
Over a century later, the Arthur Heurtley House continues to shine as a beacon of architectural brilliance and its presence — a tribute to Wright’s vision and the timeless beauty of his Prairie style. As always, we take immense delight in celebrating these iconic modernist structures. They not only enrich our architectural landscape but also provide a rich source of inspiration for our own commitment to design, innovation, and community.