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Jackie Craven

Get the Wright House Plans

By January 19, 2008

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Prairie Style Frederic C. Robie House by Frank Lloyd WrightSo you've fallen in love with the Robie House or one of those other rambling Prairie Style homes by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just copy Frank Lloyd Wright's blueprints and build a brand new house, exactly like one he designed?

Sorry. It's illegal to copy Frank Lloyd Wright's original plans. You can, however, use Wright's ideas to build a new house that resembles a Frank Lloyd Wright original. For tips and tricks, see Buy or Build a Frank Lloyd Wright House. Then, hire an architect who shares your vision, or ask your builder to use stock house plans for a Wright-inspired style such as Prairie or American Foursquare.

Where to buy? Check out our listing of Frank Lloyd Wright House Plans.

The Frederic C. Robie House in Chicago is widely considered Frank Lloyd Wright's finest example of the Prairie style. It was built in 1909.
Photo © Kenneth C. Zirkel / iStockphoto.com

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July 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm
(1) chris says:

Illegal? How do you figure?

Items released before 1923 are public domain. There is no way around that. Public domain = go ahead and do whatever you want with it. Copyright has expired.

Since he had a plethora of works done before 1923, I see no legal reason anyone could say that it is ‘illegal’ in any sense of the term to use plans from that period…

July 26, 2009 at 6:57 pm
(2) Jackie says:

Hi, Chris. I’m afraid that restrictions are tight. You cannot freely use Frank Lloyd Wright drawings or plans. Most of Frank Lloyd Wright’s intellectual property is copyrighted by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The copyrights are current. Also, Frank Lloyd Wright® and Taliesin® are registered trademarks of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

October 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm
(3) Erik says:

Jackie – Chris is correct, at least with respect to any plans created before 1923. Every drawing / blueprint / etc. created before that time is in the public domain. FLW Foundation might claim otherwise but they have no basis in law to do so.

Now, if the FLW Foundation has, after 1923, created new drawings and blueprints based on a pre-1923 house (for example, modified to meet new building codes), then those new drawings might protected by copyright.

The original buildings, however, are not, and the law would permit someone from copying or using the original plans, or making their own drawings of the old pre-1923 buildings and building them.

October 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm
(4) architecture says:

Interesting point, Erik. But copyright law is complex, and in this case I’d err on the side of caution and do some investigating before using FLW drawings and plans. Although FLW did much work before 1923, he continued to produce an enormous body of work (and reworked older projects) until his death in 1958. It’s likely that either FLW or his Foundation renewed the copyrights on his works before they fell into the Public Domain. Here’s a page that summarizes US laws regarding the duration of copyright protection: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf

April 21, 2010 at 11:12 pm
(5) Bonnie says:

1- before tptb passed the repressive law, we, used to be able to pass on the arts, to the advancement of culture(s) and civilization.

This sharing and trading, passing on stories, music, poetry. etc. freely, has been the lifeblood of Humanity, since time immemorial.

This is halt, across the Board, is now stagnating, retrograding Humanity’s spiritual evolution.

2- Why would anyoone want to copy the Wright House anyway, it is so very unattractive.

June 19, 2010 at 8:15 am
(6) Mark says:

Unattractive, ok some of them were not the most appealling to the current color tastes of society. but the designs them self are incredible. The attention to detail, the diligence of the design, the continuity of theme into every piece of the design. The man was virtually a mad scientist on a drafting table. He did things that otherw had never even dreamed of. Yes, he pushed the envelope a little to. He didn’t just design his buildings he practically sculpted them. If you haven’t seen one in person you should

November 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm
(7) Ashley says:

If he made the homes to be affordable for people of low or moderate income, why are the plans now illegal and therefore completely unattainable?

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