3 Unrealized Designs From the Greatest Architect of the 20th-Century

There was no one quite like Frank Lloyd Wright. His visionary designs changed the course of architectural history, and he was known and revered by experts and the general public. But did you know that not all of his favorite designs came to fruition? In fact, Wright believed that his best ideas never made it off the drawing board.

But, thanks to the team at Angi, we can now see what these unrealized designs might have looked like. Using the original Wright plans and some modern-day digital design tools, they created three virtual tours of the best houses that Frank Lloyd Wright never built.

Check them out below.

The Devin House

Frank Lloyd Wright was still a relatively unknown architect when he received a commission to design a home for Mrs. David Devin in 1896. Motivated by a desire to impress her high society set, Devin asked Wright to create something unique and fashionable. Wright set to work, putting together a one-off experimental design that defied all architectural conventions.

But Wright never laid a single brick. According to biographers, Wright became frustrated with the constant meddling from his overly fastidious client. Devin would often call on Wright at unusual hours to provide some unsolicited ‘feedback’ on the project. She also tended to change her mind overnight, causing Wright to re-work his plans several times. The moral of the story? Leave the serious jobs to the experts!

Cottage Studio for Ayn Rand

When the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand decided to build a summer cottage studio, there was only one architect she was going to call: Frank Wright. Rand had used Wright as the inspiration for Howard Roark, the main protagonist of her 1943 novel The Fountainhead.

A true Randian Hero, Howard Roark is a visionary architect who refuses to compromise with an architectural establishment that’s unwilling to accept his innovation. Wright often played down the comparison between himself and his fictional counterpart. But it’s hard to deny the similarities, especially when looking at designs for the Rand cottage. This visionary design encapsulates everything that makes a Frank Wright building so special and unique.

And Rand loved it. “The house you designed for me is magnificent,” wrote Rand. “I gasped when I saw it. Nobody but you could have imagined it.” It’s unclear why the project never moved forward.

Lake Tahoe Lodge

Frank Lloyd Wright always strived for perfection, even though he knew he would fall short. Wright would often talk about the inability to translate the ideas in his mind into brick and mortar buildings. “The best [buildings] have life only on paper,” wrote Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1940s. “Like say, the Lake Tahoe project ….”

The Lake Tahoe building was Wright’s attempt at futurizing the idyllic country cottage. It would have stood on a 200-acre plot near Emerald Bay. But due to mounting work commitments, the Tahoe cottage only existed inside Wright’s brilliant imagination.

Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most significant architects of the 20th-century. And it’s a shame that we don’t have more of his buildings to enjoy and admire.

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