Lonely Planet Writer

The quest to photograph every Frank Lloyd Wright design in the world

The world contains 532 structures designed by iconic American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. From high wooden windmills and curving modern museums to minimalistic houses that meld seamlessly with their surroundings, each one is dynamic and unique. And now one intrepid photographer is on a mission to document every single one of them.

Frank Lloyd Wright's famous design, Falling Water, a house in Pennsylvania.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous design, Falling Water in Pennsylvania. Image by Andrew Pielage Courtesy of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Architectural photographer Andrew Pielage’s quest began in 2011 when he visited Taliesin West, the famous winter home of Wright and headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Located in Andrew’s home state of Arizona, it proved an inspirational starting point for his project. “I immediately connected to his use of blending his structures with the environment that surrounds them. Wright says, ‘Hill and house should live together, each the happier for the other,’ and that is apparent at the first sight of this architecture. I had seen his work in books, and his integration of design into the environment is really what kick-started my passion for Frank Lloyd Wright and eventually my project to photograph all of his buildings,” Andrew told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Taliesin West, headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.
Taliesin West, headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Image by Andrew Pielage

Since then Andrew has photographed 50 Frank Lloyd Wright sites in states such as California, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Illinois, and the project has led to him sharing his experiences and teaching photography workshops at three different Frank Lloyd Wright locations around the country. Much like the architectural sites that he is capturing, Andrew’s approach is diverse. Sometimes he chooses to research the history and background of the site, while at other times he likes to go in with a completely fresh perspective.

Romeo & Juliet Windmill in Spring Green, Wisconsin built in 1897.
Romeo & Juliet Windmill in Spring Green, Wisconsin built in 1897. Image by Andrew Pielage

“I am really fortunate to have the opportunity to be in these wonderful spaces without anyone else around because you really get to feel the space. I was blown away by Unity Temple.When entering the space, you get the sense of the interior wrapping around you and holding you tight. You immediately feel comfortable and safe within its lines. How someone can design that into a space we will never know, but it’s these types of experiences we all can enjoy, and it’s why he is truly a master at what he did.”

The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, California.
The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, California.

“With 482 sites left to go, I’d like to think that it’s more about the journey than the destination. I don’t think I’ll wait until I have finished to do a series of books as I progress through the project,” Andrew said.

More of Andrew’s work is available on his Instagram as well as his official website.