PRAIRIE Style

The section applies to Prairie Style homes in Larch Park. Do not read it in isolation as the Architecture and Sustainability sections address many aspects of environmental design. The Area Specific Guidelines address urban design.

Prairie Style refers to a late 19th - early 20th century architectural style that emphasized the long, beautiful horizon of the prairie. It gained North American popularity again in the 1980’s.

Frank Lloyd Wright is considered to be a leader amongst the group of architects who developed the style. A popular example of a well-designed Prairie Style home by Frank Lloyd Wright is the Robie House (1908) located in Chicago, Illinois.

Characteristics of Prairie Style Homes

Prairie Style homes bring balance and architectural richness to any street.

They are characterized by:

  • Strong horizontal lines and one-storey cantilevered projections.
  • Low-pitched hipped roof (sometimes gabled).
  • Extended roof lines with wide, overhanging eaves.
  • Windows are set in groups to form larger openings.
  • Clerestory windows.
  • Open interior spaces.
  • Asymmetric plan organized around a central well-detailed chimney massing.

The houses appear to touch the ground; they are close to the terrain. Gently sloping roofs and long, low proportions fit with the long vistas of the prairie.

Like Capital Modern and Craftsman, the simple asymmetric form of Prairie homes allows them to adapt to the site as well as the functional needs of today’s homeowners.

A Prairie Style home has noticeably simple forms and features natural materials. Interior and exterior spaces are blurred. The buildings blend in with and are intimately connected to the landscape.

Banks of windows are strong exterior visual elements in the Prairie Style. They allow plenty of natural light to flood into the open plan creating warm, informal and inviting spaces.

A centrally located fireplace typically divides the main living spaces.

Prairie Style Guidelines

Prairie Style homes will be reviewed for: low building form, balanced and simple massing, use of authentic looking natural materials and strength of building integration with the landscape. The Prairie Style guidelines apply to bungalow and 1-1/2 storey homes only.

Massing and Roof FormMassing and Roof Form

  • Maximum 4:12 low-pitched hip roof with deep overhanging eaves. Minimum 36”
    Depending on the design a gable might be considered.
  • A strong balanced horizontal element, roof extension or cantilevered projection at the eaves
  • Simple roof forms that do not necessarily follow the footprint below. Roofs often extend over exterior rooms and/or walkways.
  • Natural stained tongue and groove cedar soffit.
  • A belt-course between storeys

Base

All Prairie Style homes in Larch Park shall include a visually strong horizontal base:

  • Integrated with landscaping, planters, and/or low exterior walls (30”-48” high);
  • Top at least 30” above grade;
  • Bottom to be within 2” of grade and follow any slopes; and
  • Clad in brick or stucco.

Vertical elementsVertical Elements

To balance the horizontality of Prairie homes, vertical elements may be incorporated. They must be rectilinear in form, and not overpower the overall design.

Such elements may include:

  • chimneys
  • windows
  • fin walls.

Windows

  • Multiple banks, groups or rows of windows.
  • Geometrically shaped and arranged.
  • Include clerestory windows where possible.
  • Situate main level windows directly over base.
  • Contain second story windows in a horizontal band with a different colour from the wall below. Keep the windows tight to the soffit.

WindowsWindows

Siding Colours and Materials

Siding materials

Roof Colours and Materials

  • Laminated double layer asphalt shingles: black, dark brown or light brown.
  • Wood shingles.
  • Standing seam metal with a colour appropriate to the main body of the house.

 

Return to General Architectural Guidelines

Larch Guidelines Version 3.0