Academy Travel’s Frank Lloyd Wright from Chicago to Fallingwater tour offers a unique opportunity to view 16 buildings designed by Wright, including suburban homes, rural villas, churches and commercial offices. Inspired by nature, forward looking, varied and highly original, Wright’s architecture continues to astound us. A journey through Wright’s architecture is also a journey through modern America from the ‘Gilded Age’ of the 1890s to ‘mid-century modern’ when American architecture, design, art and literature dominated the world stage.
The tour also visits buildings by Wright’s predecessors, contemporaries and followers, including Daniel Burnham, Louis B Sullivan, Mies Van Der Rohe and Norman Forster. We begin with four nights in Chicago, a city brimming with fine architecture and fine art, and where Wright developed his Prairie style of architecture. We then travel north to Milwaukee visiting the SC Johnson Wax Administration Building, and on to Madison, Wisconsin to see some of Wright’s commercial work as well as Taliesin, his beloved estate. Our next stop is Buffalo, near Niagara Falls, to visit the Darwin Martin complex of houses. Travelling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we conclude the tour with a private in-depth tour of America’s most famous house, Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.
Accommodation is in comfortable four star hotels, with breakfast daily and several meals at carefully chosen restaurants included.
American modern architecture in the 20th century, from Louis Sullivan and the “Chicago School” to Frank Lloyd Wright and beyond
Wright’s transformation of the American home, using inspiration from the prairie landscape of the American Midwest and a Japanese-influenced aesthetic
Extraordinary interiors at Fallingwater, Robie House, the Johnson Wax Administration Building, Darwin Martin House, Farnsworth House, and Taliesin
The amazing art collection of Chicago’s Art Institute
A private interior visit to Fallingwater, Wright’s most famous work
Private interior visits to Farnsworth House, Taliesin, the Johnson Wax Administration Building, Darwin Martin House, Graycliff and Kentuck Knob
A cocktail reception in Robie House, the finest example of Wright’s prairie style
Docent-led tour of the Art Institute of Chicago and a theatre performance
In-depth tour of Taliesin estate – Wright’s home for 30 years and the scene of tragedy and triumph
Days 1–4: In Chicago, enjoy sights including Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, Wright’s Home and Studio, Robie House and Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House.
Day 5: Coach to Milwaukee to see Johnson Wax Administration Building, Research Tower, Wingspread, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.
Days 6–7: Continue to Madison for a full estate tour of Taliesin and to visit the first Usonian home, Jacobs House I.
Days 8–9: Fly to Buffalo to view the Darwin Martin House, Graycliff and to tour Niagara Falls.
Days 10–12: Coach to Pittsburgh to see Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
We recommend either Qantas or United who both have daily flights to Chicago and from Pittsburgh. Discounted fares are regularly offered, so please contact us for competitive quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Saturday May 5: Arrive
Arrive in Chicago and meet your tour leader and fellow travellers for a welcome drink. Overnight Chicago
Sunday May 6: Downtown Chicago
The Great Fire of 1871 destroyed the entire Chicago CBD, leaving the way open for architects to design a new and modern city. The first steel-framed high rise building rose in 1885 and the skyline today is densely packed with skyscrapers, many by renowned architects. Our walking tour this morning takes us past some of the city’s most iconic buildings. We visit the lobby of the Rookery Building, the masterpiece of Daniel Burnham and remodelled by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. In the afternoon we take the Chicago Architectural Foundation river cruise to gain an overview of the city’s historic and modern architectural styles. Tonight we have dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight Chicago (B, D)
Monday May 7: Frank Lloyd Wright – the early years & Farnsworth House
Today we take a private coach tour of Oak Park. This Chicago suburb is where Frank Lloyd Wright lived and worked and where much of his early work can still be found. We have an interior tour of Wright’s home and studio, which Wright used as his architecture laboratory for his early designs. We then view the numerous examples of Prairie Style architecture in the surrounding neighbourhood. In the afternoon, we drive west to Plano to visit Farnsworth House, the masterpiece of Modernist residential architecture by Mies van der Rohe, set in a beautiful landscape beside the Fox River. Overnight Chicago (B)
Tuesday May 8: Chicago art and architecture
We begin our day with a walk through Millennium Park. Originally occupied by railyards and parking lots, the area was redeveloped into a public space featuring an outdoor concert venue, gardens, restaurants and some spectacular art installations. From here we make our way to the highly-regarded Art Institute of Chicago, boasting a fine collection of both European and American painting and over 60 ‘decorated rooms’ – accurately reconstructed furnished interiors from a broad range of times and places. After a private guided tour, there is time to explore the collection independently and a break for lunch. In the afternoon we travel by coach for a private interior visit and cocktail reception in Robie House, perhaps the fullest expression of Wright’s Prairie Style in Chicago. Our trip takes us through the ‘White City’ – the site of the 1893 World’s Fair. Overnight Chicago (B)
Wednesday May 9: SC Johnson Complex
We farewell Chicago and travel north to Racine, Wisconsin to visit the SC Johnson Wax Administration Building and Research Tower, a landmark in commercial office architecture. Subject to availability, we will also tour Wingspread, the expansive low lying home designed for Herbert Johnson, one of Wright’s great patrons. We continue onto Milwaukee to visit the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Wright’s modernist interpretation of Byzantine architecture. Overnight Milwaukee (B)
Thursday May 10: Milwaukee
This morning we visit the Milwaukee Art Museum to see the Prairie School Archives and later tour one of Wright’s American System-Built homes. We then travel west for a private visit to Jacobs House I, considered the first ‘Usonian’ home, part of Wright’s ideal of a new world architecture free. We arrive in Madison, Wisconsin, our base for two nights and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight Madison (B, D)
Friday May 11: Taliesin
This remote site in rural Wisconsin was the architect’s home from 1911, and is of central importance to understanding Wright. Taliesin was twice burned down and rebuilt. It was also the scene of the horrific 1914 axe murder of Wright’s lover, her children and several employees. A complex of buildings, combining Prairie Style and oriental influences, it was here that Wright designed Fallingwater, the Guggenheim Museum and other key works. We tour the house, the grounds and the studio, today an important training centre for emerging American architects. In the afternoon we visit the Unitarian Meeting House, designed by Wright and recognised as one of the most innovative examples of church architecture followed by a visit to the Monona Terrace Convention Center, designed by Wright but only constructed in 1997. Tonight is a free evening. Overnight Madison (B)
Saturday May 12: Upstate New York
This morning we take a flight from Madison to Buffalo, New York. Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Buffalo rose to prominence in the early 19th century, when the Erie Canal was completed, connecting Chicago and the Mid-West with the Hudson River, New York and the world beyond. After New York City, Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state. It has many significant buildings, including Louis B Sullivan’s Garanty Building and Daniel Burnham’s Ellicott Square building. This afternoon we tour some of these sites and dine in a local restaurant. Overnight Buffalo (B, D)
Sunday May 13: Wright in Buffalo, Niagara Falls
Between 1903 and 1908 Frank Lloyd Wright built a number of fine examples of his Prairie Style houses in Buffalo, and we survey these today, and visit the Darwin D. Martin House. Most of the houses were built for executives of the Larkin Soap Factory and are located in the Parkside East Historic District, a neighbourhood laid out by renowned American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in 1876 (Olmstead is also largely responsible for New York’s Central Park). This afternoon we relax at Niagara Falls, one of America’s foremost natural wonders. Overnight Buffalo (B)
Monday May 14: Pittsburgh
We travel along the shores of Lake Erie to visit Graycliff, the summer home built by Wright for Darwin Martin, which is undergoing extensive renovation. We continue onto Pittsburgh this morning, a city whose name is synonymous with the coal and steel industry. The city’s wealth contributed to its rich cultural heritage and few patrons were as generous as Andrew Carnegie, a Pittsburgh-based industrialist who made his fortune out of steel and endowed many of the city’s cultural institutions. Overnight Pittsburgh (B)
Tuesday May 15: Private tour of Fallingwater
We depart Pittsburgh early today and make our way to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater where we enjoy a private interior tour of the house. Completed in 1939, its dramatic setting over a river and revolutionary modernist architecture made the house instantly famous. Built for the wealthy Kaufmann family, who made their fortune in retail, Fallingwater was a private retreat until the early 1960’s, when the house and several hundred acres of land around it were entrusted to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. We also visit nearby Kentuck Knob, a private house built for the Hagen family in 1954 and a good example of Wright’s later style. The current owner, Lord Palumbo, has also installed an impressive contemporary sculpture garden on the property. We return to Pittsburgh this evening for dinner in the Terrace Room restaurant. Overnight Pittsburgh (B, D)
Wednesday May 16: Warhol and Farewell
Before departing Pittsburgh today we visit the Andy Warhol Museum. The sometimes controversial artist was a Pittsburgh native, and the recently-opened museum contains a broad sampling of his oeuvre. We then head to Pittsburgh airport where our tour ends allowing for convenient flight connections home to Australia. (B)
Dr Matthew Laing
Is a historian and political scientist with a PhD from the ANU. Matthew leads tours to the United States and Scandinavia and lectures for Academy Travel.
In 2007 he spent six months in Washington as a congressional intern and has travelled extensively in the North East USA. He has lectured at the ANU’s Centre for Continuing Education and led tours in Australia and the USA.
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.