Archival Print - Coonley Playhouse - 8" x10"
From The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York). All rights reserved.
8" x 10"
The Coonley estate, a sprawling complex in Riverside, Illinois, is one of Wright’s most impressive residential achievements. Avery Coonley, a wealthy Chicago industrialist, and his wife, Queene Ferry, granted Wright tremendous creative freedom to design a residence that he ultimately deemed “the most successful of my houses.” The ground floor is relatively small and dominated by a children’s playroom that looks onto a wide terrace and large pool. The primary living spaces are located on the upper level of the house, which is accessed by a set of staircases and comprises three principal sections. The western wing features a dining room, living room, study, and three bedrooms connected by a hall that expands and contracts in scale. A second, smaller wing with a kitchen and servant’s quarters intersects the main living space at its northern end, while a third wing featuring two guest bedrooms intersects the southern end. These lateral projections extend like arms to embrace the driveway and central couryard of the expansive property. The flowing spaces of the house form a low, rambling U-shaped structure that melds seamlessly with its prairie environment.