Address: 540 Fair Oaks Avenue, Oak Park, IL
City: Oak Park, Illinois
Commissioned in 1901, the Fricke house was designed during Wright’s brief partnership with the architect Webster Tomlinson. The client, William G. Fricke, was a partner in the school-supply firm of Weber, Costello, Fricke. The house exhibits many key elements of Wright's mature Prairie style, including its stone water table, horizontal banding, overhanging roof eaves, shallow hipped roof, and stucco exterior. Nevertheless, tiered geometric masses, including another angular prow-like projection adjacent to the front door; and a centrally located three-story tower with long, thin windows and mullions, lend the building a vertical appearance. Wright may have been responding to the compact scale of the lot on which the house was built. Indeed, he also dealt with the narrow tract of the Isidore Heller house by building vertically. Wright appears to have abandoned the half-timbered surface treatment found in other contemporary designs in favor of a more reductive scheme that resembles the exposed structural armatures found in traditional Japanese architecture.