The Prairie house plan is a uniquely American architectural style.
One of the few architectural styles that was not imported from Europe, the Prairie School of architecture originated in the Midwest and was catapulted to prominence by its most famous master, Frank Lloyd Wright. Prairie home designs are characterized by strong horizontal lines and earthy materials, which echo the broad plains of the midwestern landscape. Massive masonry piers and chimneys, wide porches, and cantilevered floors are distinctive features. Low-pitched hipped roofs with wide overhanging eaves enhance the horizontal appearance of Prairie-style house plans.
Masonry construction is most typical, often with exaggerated horizontal patterns. Although ornamentation is sparse, rows of tall windows ("ribbon windows") may display geometric patterns. Typically two stories or more, the vernacular Prairie floor plan often has a simple square footprint. This design is sometimes referred to as a Prairie Box or American Foursquare, an extremely common house type in the streetcar suburbs of early 20th century cities. More elaborate Prairie home plans may have projecting rooms, wings, or porches, which give them an asymmetrical appearance. The airy, open floor plans allow each room to flow into the next.
- Low-slung, hipped roof
- Emphasis on horizontal lines
- Geometric decorative patterns
- Masonry construction