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Frank Lloyd Wright’s American System-Built Home

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Built: 1916

Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright

This model B1 bungalow is the only example of its kind, one of six System-Built homes on the 2700 block of West Burnham Street in Milwaukee, WI. The block is a designated a national historic district and is a unique collection of Wright's work.

Over a career of seven decades, Frank Lloyd Wright took special interest in creating architect-designed homes for moderate and low-income families. In a 1901 speech entitled, “The Art and Craft of the Machine”, Wright outlined his vision of affordable housing. He asserted that the home would have to go to the factory, instead of the skilled labor coming to the building site.

Between 1915 and 1917, Wright designed a series of standardized “system-built” homes, known today as the American System-Built Homes, an early example of prefabricated housing. The “system” involved cutting the lumber and other materials in a mill or factory, and then bringing them to the site for assembly; thus saving material waste and a substantial fraction of the wages paid to skilled tradesmen.

The homes were marketed through builders who would meet prospective buyers in their offices. An advertisement in the March 4, 1917 edition of the Chicago Tribune stated, “The American System of home building enables you to secure homes – correct and charming in design, perfect in taste and intelligent in arrangement – putting at your command the services of Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s foremost creative architect – without extra cost.”

To learn more about System Built Homes, including the duplex style, visit Wright in Milwaukee.

For more Frank Lloyd Wright check out our guided 360° Virtual Tour of Wright's Taliesin and a brief tour of Wright's Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.

For more 360 interactive images and virtual tours visit the main Tour de Force 360 website.