Fireproof House for $5,000

Wright’s design for a Fireproof House for $5,000 was published in the Ladies Home Journal in April, 1907. At this time there was a stong interest in fire resistant construction; with electricity being relatively new and more modern safeguards against fire yet to be devloped. The house was therefore specified by Wright to be built of concrete, a very fire resistant material. But, for whatever reason, when constructed these houses were usually built of wood frame with stucco exterior.

The design is for a small, attractive and efficient Prairie house. The house features a square plan with a central fireplace and the living room running across one side (half) of the square. The living room opens around one end of the chimney to the dining room, making an L shaped space. The kitchen is enclosed in the remaining quarter of the first floor. The entrance is off to the side, and as often built by Wright and others there is an open porch on the side opposite the entrance. The roof was usually flat or a low pitched hipped roof. This plan had the virtues of being compact and economical to maintain and build. It could be built on a small lot and its configuration could be varied to adapt to different situations.

Wright built about 25 houses based upon this plan, and it was also frequently used by several of the architects that had earlier worked with him in his Oak Park studio, most notably Walter Burley Griffin, John Van Bergen and William Drummond.