Frank Lloyd Wright, who is considered America's greatest architect, defied gravity and building codes in his quest for harmony with nature. A new show at the spiral-shaped Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum he designed in New York City celebrates the building's 50th anniversary (May 15-Aug. 23). Victor Sidy, dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (franklloydwrightfoundation.org), shares his list of other great buildings to visit with Kathy Baruffi for USA TODAY.
Hollyhock HouseLos Angeles "This house, built in the '20s for an oil heiress with a passion of the arts, is beautifully sited in an olive grove on a hill overlooking Hollywood." Sidy says. Known for blurring the lines between the indoors and outdoors, Wright even used the roof of this 6,000-square-foot house as living space, embracing the ocean views and the Southern California climate. 323-644-6269;hollyhockhouse.net
Price TowerBartlesville, Okla. "I had the delight of staying in one of the rooms at the Inn at Price Tower here," Sidy says of this multiuse skyscraper where seven floors are now dedicated to hotel space. "It's one of the best experiences of a FLW building you can get." Visit the Philips Petroleum Company Museum, oil baron mansions and the symphony in this town less than an hour from Tulsa. 918-336-4949; Pricetower.org
Taliesin WestScottsdale, Ariz. "This is my personal favorite," says Sidy, who works there. "It's the perfect counter-example of the evils of suburban sprawl and our lack of sensitivity to the environment." In addition to being an experimental laboratory (he tested new materials and methods on his own buildings), this was the headquarters of Wright's innovative architecture school as well as his winter home. 480-860-2700; Franklloydwright.org
Pope-Leighey HouseAlexandria, Va. "The idea Wright was after with the Usonian projects was to provide something affordable for the common man," Sidy says of this and the many other Usonian homes built for middle-income families. "Later in his life, he felt that architecture needed to address the ideas of democracy." The site, formerly part of Mount Vernon, also has Woodlawn Plantation, a home built for Martha Washington's granddaughter. Visit both with a combined ticket. 703-780-4000; popeleighey1940.org
Darwin Martin HouseBuffalo"This is an incredibly pure example of his early work," Sidy says. "The great thing about Buffalo is it also has examples of Louis Sullivan's work, the architect with whom Wright apprenticed and worked." In addition to six Wright buildings at the site, a glass visitor's pavilion recently opened. Buffalo has a thriving arts, music and dining scene; combine your visit a trip to nearby Niagara Falls. 716-856-3858; Darwinmartinhouse.org
Johnson Wax BuildingsRacine, Wis. "Wright was fascinated by the quality of light in a forest," Sidy says. "When you walk into the Administration Building here, with its slender columns, you have the same dappled light as in a forest. It's remarkable for its structural expressiveness." Tours are free and include the Wright-designed Golden Rondelle Theater as well as the Research Tower. 262-260-2154; racinecounty.com/golden