Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Burnham Block homes are the earliest example of affordable, small scale dwellings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. They are part of a series of homes designed for a broad audience that Mr. Wright called the “American System-Built Homes”.
A 1917 advertisement in 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.”
Wright produced more than 950 working drawings and sketches of various designs for the system—more than on any other project. The designs were standardized, and customers could choose from roughly thirty models. Lumber was to be precut in a factory to reduce waste and the amount of skilled labor needed for construction. The lumber was packaged with other building components and shipped by rail to the construction site.
The home at 2714 West Burnham is a Model B1 of the American System-Built homes. It has been meticulously restored to its 1916 appearance. This tiny 805 square foot home brings together nearly all of Wright’s design principles from his earlier Prairie period. Nature is an extension of the interior spaces, light fills the home, privacy and serenity are primary.
The Burnham Block homes mark the beginning of a life-long progression of built designs for aff