Have you heard? Illinois has a new museum opening...and it's right here in Rockford! The Laurent House (designed by none other than the famous Frank Lloyd Wright) will be open to the public for tours starting on June 6. It truly is a sight to see! Wright even considered it to be one of his 35 best works of his career (out of the 1,100 he designed), and affectionately called it "my little gem."
I've been lucky enough to see this amazing house in the process of its renovation. If you're not familiar with the Laurent House, it is the only structure Frank Lloyd Wright designed to accommodate a person with a disability (Kenneth Laurent was a wheelchair-bound WWII veteran). Wright kept this in mind as he was designing the house. When you visit, you'll notice that surfaces are lower, doorways are wider, and there are spaces under cabinets and shelving that a person in a wheelchair could easily roll up to.
(The Laurent House under renovation.)
But it's not just the visible accommodations for a person in a wheelchair that make this house unique. There are plenty of other factors Wright considered while designing this house. For instance, all the best views of the house can bee seen from the seated level. When you look out some windows while standing, you can see the street out front. But at the seated level all you see is the trees and nature (much more pleasant to look at!).
(Outside of the Laurent House.)
Wright also liked to incorporate a "big reveal" when you walk into his designed homes. Usually this would involve the room being open with a higher ceiling. However with the Laurent House, this effect is made with the opening of the space length-wise rather than with height. The space still feels like it opens up, so it doesn't matter if you're standing or in the seated position.
Once the Laurent House opens to the public, you won't want to miss seeing this "little gem" for yourself! It really is a complete work of art since not only is the structure designed by Wright, but the original furniture is in tact and will be in the house as well.
(The Laurent House as it will look when it is open for tours.)
Public tours will occur the first and last weekend of every month and depart from Midway Village Museum. For more information about the Laurent House and the opening day events, visit www.laurenthouse.com.