Charles Ross Summerhouse

Date: 1902
Address: 3211 South Shore Drive, Delavan WI 
City: Delavan, Wisconsin
Accessibility: Private
Category: Residential

Around the turn of the century, wealthy families from Chicago flocked to scenic destinations in Wisconsin for summer vacation. Wright designed a handful of lakeside cottages during this time, the Charles Ross summerhouse among them. Although it has been painted and altered in recent years, the house retains many of the characteristics that are shared by other of Wright’s nearby cottages, including board and batten siding, hipped roofs, and ribbon windows situated just below widely projecting soffits. The house is cruciform in plan and, rather than simply expanding the openings between the house’s rooms to create a sense of free-flowing space—as he did in his Shingle style designs—Wright began to eliminate traditional room divisions by breaking down the box-like contours of house’s interior spaces. The dining and living rooms, for instance, penetrate one another on an angle, creating a dynamic relationship and oblique views that anticipate the complex spatial arrangements found in Wright’s Ward Willits house and other of his more advanced prairie-style designs.


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