Dr. H.W. Bassett, Remodeling of House

Date: 1894
City: Oak Park, Illinois
Category: Residential
Restoration Status: Demolished in 1922

Wright adapted this Oak Park residence for Dr. H.W. Bassett, a homeopathic physician, as an office and living space. He modified the first floor to house waiting, examining, and operating rooms, and expanded the roofline so that it reached over the second story-windows. Like the Francis Wooley house, the exterior of the Basset house featured a bipartite surface treatment: shingle-and-batten siding extended to the sill of the second story windows while light colored plaster reached to the soffit. The dark color of the lower portion of the structure gave the impression of heaviness and grounded the building in its setting, while the subdued color of the plaster above created a sense of lightness that compensated for the dark shadows cast by the building’s deep eaves. Wright employed color to manipulate perceptions of spatial massing in other of his designs. The walls of the living room at his own Oak Park residence, for instance, are painted in a gradient of greenish hues that lighten toward the ceiling.

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