Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s “$10,000 Home” in Chicago

Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s “$10,000 Home” in Chicago

By Duncan Nielsen
A new book explores how the 1915 Bach House distilled the tenets of Wright’s work into a single, affordable home.

The Bach House, built in 1915 for a brick maker’s son in Rogers Park, Chicago, is a 2,700-square-foot, two-story home that offers beauty and practicality at an approachable price tag.

According to a new book Frank Lloyd Wright’s $10,000 Home: History, Design, and Restoration of the Bach House, "Wright ingeniously melded three unique design concepts into one compact building." Those concepts were the Midway Gardens, with its ornate trellises, balconies, and overhanging roof lines; Fireproof House, a compact and durable design meant for a family with modest means; and sketches from circa 1911 titled "Study of a Small Suburban House," which, too, touted affordability.  

Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, Wright’s archivist from 1959 to 2017, sifted through hundreds of sketches to verify the project’s inspiration. "The plan matches, with minor alterations, the house for [owner] Emil Bach in Chicago, 1915," he said. "It is a square, again on the lines of the Fireproof House, with an enclosed porch off the entry hall." 

Wright’s original estimate of $10,000 to Emil and Anna Bach was triple the average cost of a home in 1915. In today’s terms, the Bach House would cost $250,000—the average figure for an American home in 2019. 

Check out the book to learn more.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s $10,000 Home: History, Design, and Restoration of the Bach House
When Emil and Anna Bach approached Frank Lloyd Wright to design and build their Chicago home in 1915, he quoted a cost of $10,000, or $250,000 in modern purchasing power. Wright is known for his grand, international designs like the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo and the Guggenheim in New York.

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