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Architectural styles have come and gone over the course of history. Styles are created, fall out of fashion, and maybe get a serious revival effort sometime in the future, just like everything else that is suspectable to the trends of the day. We currently live in an era of architecture and design that prioritizes efficiency over aesthetics. Most businesses nowadays seek minimalism in their design. Either striving for the spartan, understated nature of the Apple stores or settling for the default HGTV-style with grey, laminate flooring and conservative frontages. But what if there was a style that could be efficient while also being aesthetically pleasing? How about PRAIRIE-RANCH ARCHITECTURE?

 

ChicagoEmerging in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century, the Prairie style (or Prairie School as it sometimes known as) has been referred to not only the first example of “modern architecture”, but also the first school of architecture that was distinctly American.

 

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, many young, entrepreneurial architects saw new opportunities emerge as the city was rebuilt over the next few decades. One of these young architects was Frank Lloyd Wright. While starting out as an architect, he and several other fellow colleagues attended the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. There, they bore witness to the pristine neo-classical revival architecture spearheaded by Daniel Burnham as the style of Chicago’s rebirth and were disappointed by it. To them, it was nothing more than a gauche rehash of what had already been done before. They wanted to create something new altogether.

 

frank lloyd wright

Wright and his group labored rigorously crafting and perfecting this new architectural style. Wright took inspiration from the growing Arts and Crafts movement from England which sprang up as a way to embrace the traditional craftsmen in reaction to the then-new assembly line manufacturing process. Wright wanted something similar. He wanted to what he referred to as “organic architecture,” building that looked as if it they had naturally grown from the site they stood on. Through this philosophy, a uniquely modern and authentically American style of architecture would be created.

 

Robie House

The characteristics of Prairie-style architecture are thus. Firstly, building of the Prairie School must be, in the words of Wright, “married to the ground.” They are meant to replicate the flat landscape of the American Midwest and thus the surfaces of position horizontally. Prairie buildings spread out and are long and horizontal with strong geometry. Their exteriors primarily use natural materials such as brick or stucco. They are built from the inside out to allow indoor and outdoor space to be connected and often use large windows for better natural lighting. And, more importantly, decorative elements incorporate a lot of hand-wrought woodwork and art glass where their organic nature shines in their unblemished form. Image 1

 

Albany has its own version of this beautiful, natural-feeling, and efficient design. Located right in Mid-Town, this estate property will make the perfect place for offices and commercial business. The property has great accessibility and curb appeal along Dawson Road, and gives that professional feel without sacrificing the aesthetic beauty of the area.

 

Image 2Located down in the "valley" of the "Woodland neighborhood", the building is a basic yet ultimately true to the style of the Prairie School. This 1950s vintage was custom built by one of Albany’s Old line families with meticulous detail given for placement on the long level lot overlooking Willow Lake. The beautiful, natural-feeling, efficient facility is also reflected in its interior where it’s decorated with natural wood finishing that remains even after a recent refurbishment. It also owes a lot to its iron-wrought gates and the large, decorated windows as seen in the photos on this page. Its natural surroundings also complement it with tall pine trees, fragrant azalea bushes, and verdant greenery. Even in a small town like Albany, there’s a building that would make Frank Lloyd Wright proud!

 

1101 Valley Road carries on the rich tradition of the Prairie School and is just waiting to be the location for your new business today! If you would like to know more about the building itself, please visit our page on it on this very website.