Mrs. Thomas Gale House in Oak Park

Photo of Mrs. Thomas Gale House in Oak Park, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz

Airlifted pipes.

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Mrs. Thomas Gale House

6 Elizabeth Court, Oak Park, Illinois, Oak Park 60302
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On a private drive in a private community it only makes sense to use one of Frank Lloyd Wright's more private designs. Wright had a thing for horizontal walls. Sometimes they are used to evoke feelings. Sometimes to accent. Or, as in this case, they are used to obscure. The lower floor features a long low wall keeping prying eyes out of the family's main living space. A parallel wall is used as a balcony railing on the second floor, further obscuring views and giving the occupants privacy where it is most needed. This is particularly important because the openness of the window wall continues through to the other side of the home. But like many aspects of a Wright design, there are dual uses. The long walls continue in the rear of the building where they frame a series of terraces and balconies to view the backyard. Similarly, the roof is only slightly pitched so that the eye remains firmly on the main mass of the building, rather than travel upward to some fancy gable. On a lot with lots of tall trees as vertical elements, the house becomes an intersection for visual lines, and a base from which the trees can sprout, rather than joining them in the canopy.

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