The Laurent House - 1940’s AccessibilityDec 17 03:31
I first fell in love with Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous prairie architect, after seeing his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and touring a handful of his homes while road-tripping through Wisconsin eight years ago. His homes are considered some of the most beautiful in the world, and that is why I was SO thrilled to discover he had built a fully-accessible home before leaving this world. Why didn't I know about this??
Dubbed "The Laurent House," the home was built for his friend William Laurent, paralyzed while serving in WWII. Laurent and his wife Phyllis commissioned the home in 1949 (it took 3 years to complete), and what Wright produced was a 2,500 masterpiece - a gorgeous 1-story home sitting on 1.3 treed acres, and the only time in Wright’s career he created a home that was wheelchair accessible.
The Laurent House is significant because its his first foray into creating a home with an open-floor plan, which is now 60 years later, all the rage (this is how you can tell you’re dealing with a genius). Wright created elegant, flowing spaces by making the base of the home in the shape of an ellipse. He also made the home the most visually beautiful from the seated-position, with windows (and beautiful views) everywhere. The home has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and several pieces of custom-made furniture that are both accessible and designed the fit the home.
The Laurent House is located in Rockford, Illinois and after years of living there with his wife, the Laurent’s have decided to move into an assisted living facility. But have no fear, this historic home, one of the earliest examples of aesthetically-pleasing universal design, will never fall to disrepair. On Dec. 15th, the home was sold to the Illinois Preservation Society for $578,500, ensuring this important piece of history will not only stay in tip-top shape, but also finally opening it to the public.
So now if you ever find yourself in the Rockford, Illinois area, swoop on in and soak up one of the most glorious pieces of accessible architecture in the country.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.