Richards Duplex Apartments (1916), Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Between 1915 and 1917, Wright designed a series of standardized “system-built” homes now known as the “American System-Built Homes.” By “system-built,” he did not mean pre-fabrication off-site, but a system that involved cutting lumber and other materials in a mill or factory, then transporting them to the site for assembly according to accompanying plans. It was intended that this system would save material waste and a substantial portion of the wages paid to skilled tradesman. Wright produced more than 900 working drawing and sketches of various designs for the system. Four duplex apartment buildings, a small house and a bungalow were constructed speculatively on West Burnham St. and Layton Blvd. in Milwaukee by Arthur L. Richards, developer.

The Arthur L. Richards Duplex Apartments were constructed in 1916. They are four separate buildings, each with upper and lower apartments. The plan of each unit is identical, except for the western duplex that was flipped to locate the entrance away from the street corner. Originally all were of plaster surface with wood trim. These buildings were ignored for many years and, as a result, were clad with a variety of materials and altered in ways that would not have met with Wright’s approval. They are now being restored.

Location: 2720 to 2734 West Burnham Blvd., Milwaukee, WI 53215
Private residence.

William Allin Storrer, The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright (1995), #201.
Thomas A. Heinz, Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide (2005), p. 185-186.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin Heritage Tourism Program, The American System-Built Homes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, brochure.