Its facade, unmistakably Wright with its horizontal sweep, wide overhangs and Prairie School stained glass, glitters across the street from Central Park in Mason City, Iowa. Of the handful of hotels Frank Lloyd Wright designed in his lifetime, the only one still left standing is Park Inn Hotel, a recent renovation that has served as an economic catalyst for a small town and preserved a signature Wright commission. Built roughly 15 years before the Imperial Hotel complex in Tokyo, this Iowa landmark prefigured design elements and ideas utilized in that later work.
"If you take a picture of the Park Inn Hotel and lay it over a similar image of the Imperial Hotel, there are so many similarities, from the end towers to the horizontal lines," says Dana Thomas of Bergland + Cram, the architecture firm involved in the restoration.
A full gallery, and the story of the hotel's preservation, this way >>