Frank Lloyd Wright is without doubt one of the most recognizable names in American Architecture. That said, although I do admire his work…he has never been my favorite. Over the years I have been to many of his buildings, both public and private, but the Usonian home at Quasqueton is now one of my favorites.
Usonian; I learned that this was an attempt to brand a new type of architecture. It sounds like a philosophy, but it meant United States Only; this was a style of architecture that was developed in the USA and would represent America’s new power and style.
The Lowell Walter House is modest in size. It was designed during a time of tremendous growth in our nation. The Usonian style was intended to be affordable, yet gracious, and to allow us to live better lives through better design.
As with most of Wrights Structures, it was not inexpensive, but it is wonderful. It is one of Wrights most complete pieces. Most everything in the house was designed by Wright and his coveted Signature Tile, is on proud display. The tile indicated that Wright himself was happy with how the project turned out.
The setting for this house is beautiful, the lines of the structure sublime, the lighting in the house fantastic, but my favorite part of this house are the chairs in the dining room. They actually look comfortable! Too many times I have seen, form has not followed function, in Wrights furniture. I even got to sit on one…and it was comfortable…maybe even a little too comfortable for a dining table! I am not so sure about the angle of the back of the chair when you are eating soup…but for looking out the window or talking, it was perfect. The dining area is pretty amazing too. With a minimum of effort, parts slide out, open-up and convert to accommodate two for breakfast or a dinner party.
The Lowell Walter House was completed in 1950 and looks just as if the Walter’s have stepped out for a few moments. It is well worth a visit. Good to know that Wright moved with the times…his bathrooms were engineering triumphs and this house did have closets!