Wright Adapted to the Times – Popularizing Usonian Form
Despite Wright’s ego, he didn’t want to exclusively design high-style homes for the wealthy. He saw which way the winds were blowing in the United States. In 1929, the economy crashed, leading the country into the Great Depression and fewer commissions for expensive houses. Wright designed a Usonian style. It was an affordable design from a famous architect for clients with a modest budget, around $5,000. In 1938, LIFE Magazine hosted a design project. Eight families, with annual incomes between $2,000 and $10,000. LIFE paired each family with two invited architects, a classicist and a modernist. Wright was the modernist for the Blackbourn family. The Blackbourns chose Wright’s modern style but were unable to build it. The Schwartz family of Two Rivers, Wisconsin collaborated with Wright to adapt the plans to their site, completing it in 1940. Today, Wright’s Usonian, called Stillbend is available as a vacation rental.