10 Ways to Celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright's 150th Birthday

Frank Lloyd Wright was without a doubt, one of the most iconic and prolific architects of the 20th century.

He pioneered do-it-yourself constructions systems and embraced new materials and designs. He was an avant-garde thinker with visionary ideas on nature, urban planning, and social politics. He was also the leader of the Prairie School movement of architecture, designing structures that were in harmony with their environment—a philosophy he called organic architecture. 

Though he was a true renegade for his time, he continues to inspire the design world today—giving us plenty of reasons to celebrate this genius of American architecture on June 8th, which will mark the 150th anniversary of his birth. 

While there are many ways to fête Wright on June 8th—or for the rest of 2017—here is a look at 10 timely and interesting ways to celebrate his legacy.

Cover illustration courtesy of Eric O'Malley

1. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Celebrates Wright

Wright’s last major work—and one of his most iconic—sadly didn’t open until six months after he passed away in 1959. Nevertheless, the Guggenheim Museum is one of the most important pieces of American architecture and is considered to be Wright’s most important contribution. The Guggenheim will be celebrating his 150th throughout the month of June with a range of activities, which will also include $1.50 admission on June 8 (the museum is usually closed on Thursdays), cupcakes, a tour at noon, and a display of rare construction photos. 

During New York's Museum Mile Festival on June 13, visitors can also take advantage of free after-hours admission and receive Frank Lloyd Wright temporary tattoos.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, photographed in 1959. Gelatin silver print.

2. The Museum of Modern Art's New Exhibit, Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive

Opening on June 12, this major exhibition comprises approximately 450 of the architect's works hailing from the 1890s through the 1950s, including architectural drawings, models, building fragments, films, television broadcasts, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs, and scrapbooks—along with a number of works that have rarely or never been publicly exhibited.

Frank Lloyd Wright, March Balloons, 1955. Drawing based on a 1926 design for Liberty magazine. Colored pencil on paper, 28 1/4" x 24 1/2". The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

3. The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust Shares His Photos of Japan

To celebrate 150 years since Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth on June 8, 1867, the trust will present an array of programs in collaboration with partners around the country. Their online exhibit of Wright's personal photos of Japan from 1905 can be enjoyed no matter where you are, as these images will be online—available for the first time ever to a global audience.

Though the exact details of this photo have not been confirmed yet, the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust told us that it was taken by Wright himself in Japan in 1905.

Speaking of Wright in Japan, "Magnificent Obsession" is the first documentary focused exclusively on Wright's "great living creative spirit" in Japan—the only country outside of America in which he lived and worked. 

4. The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust's "Prairie Style Passport"

If you need some motivation to finally go on that FLW pilgrimage you've been thinking about, the "Prairie Style Passport" is being offered through the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. If you visit three of the Prairie-style buildings on this form during 2017, you can receive a complimentary tour for two people at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, where the Prairie style was created.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, Chicago.

5. The National Building Museum Declares Frank Lloyd Wright Day

On June 10, the National Building Museum will be celebrating with a variety of lectures and programs. There's even an interactive exhibit titled Out On a Limb, where visitors can explore Wright’s use of the cantilever through hands-on building, then building their own.

Frank Lloyd Wright at the Reisley House in Usonia, a cooperative housing development in Pleasantville, New York, 1952.

6. Schumacher Releases "Applied Architecture Collection"

In honor of the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth, the American fabric and wallpaper company Schumacher and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation have collaborated on launching the graphic Applied Architecture Collection, a fabric line inspired by the original and wildly successful line Wright and his team designed for Schumacher in 1955.

Prompted by House Beautiful editor Elizabeth Gordon, who introduced Wright to Schumacher, the collaboration was originally developed as "Schumacher’s Taliesin Line of Decorative Fabrics and Wallpaper," which was part of the  "Taliesin Ensemble," a collection of furnishings available to everyone who wasn't lucky enough to be able to actually live in one of his homes. It included textiles and wallpapers with geometric designs that had been hand-drawn by the architect. 

1. Price House Print West Grey 176891; 2. Design 101 Blues 176862; 3. Design 107 Red & Blue 176903; 4. Design 105 Blues 176870; 5. St. Marks Print Black 176910; 6. Design 103 Blue & Red 176880; 7. Design 513 Charcoal 72231; 8. Design 103 Grey & Yellow 176881; 9. Euchtman Stone 72213; 10. Design 105 Grey & Yellow 176871

7. A Graphic Designer Illustrates His Top 10 Favorite FLW Buildings

Graphic designer and illustrator Eric O’Malley has honored his favorite Frank Lloyd Wright buildings by illustrating them. In honor of his 150th birth year, O'Malley shares his top 10 favorite Wright buildings and tells a bit of the story behind each one. He's even chosen shades from Wright’s 1955 Taliesin Line of Martin-Senour Paints for each illustration's color palette. 

"If only all of us could work inside office spaces like the ones Wright designed for Johnson Wax!" -Eric O'Malley

8. Relaunched LEGO Architecture Series of the Guggenheim

You can celebrate Wright by building your own version of the Guggenheim with LEGO's updated version of its 2009 release of the museum set. The 744-piece set focuses on the building's smooth concrete facade, with specially-made pieces to recreate the distinctive curves and lines of its famous "inverted-ziggurat" rotunda and eight-story annex tower. 

The Guggenheim’s iconic sign has been recreated together with a section of New York City’s 5th Avenue Museum Mile, complete with two yellow cabs.

9. Fallingwater's Lecture Series and Tours

Fallingwater will be celebrating Wright's 150th with a special lecture series  and tours throughout the summer. They're also featuring an ongoing exhibit titled Wright for Wright: The Experimental Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Homes.

Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, 1935 

10. Visit Taliesin West

If you're able to make it to Taliesin West on June 8, you can tour Wright's National Historic Landmark for only $1.50. Nestled in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, Arizona, it was Wright's beloved winter home and is now the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin—the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. 

Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, 1937. Built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, it was one of the architect's most personal creations. 



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