“The mission of an architect is to help people understand how to make life more beautiful, the world a better one for living in, and to give a reason, rhyme, and meaning to life.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Llyod Wright is a highly regarded American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator whose ‘Prarie Style’ became the basis for residential design in the United States. In a career spanning seven decades, he designed 1000 structures, becoming one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.
Born on 8 June 1867, a child of Anna Jonas, a teacher, and William Wright, a preacher and musician, Frank Lloyd Wright led a nomadic way of life in challenging financial circumstances, as his father had to move from one ministry position to another. Knowing that he wanted to pursue architecture but due to the unavailability of opportunities at Madison, where they had settled, he took engineering courses while working for the dean of the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Engineering. He realised his dream of going to Chicago, where unprecedented buildings of unique structural systems were coming up in 1887.
In the beginning, he was employed at J.L.Silsbee, where he was inspired by sketches and achieved mastery in ductile lines and telling accents. Not long after that, he was hired by the prestigious partnership of Adler and Sullivan, working under Louis Sullivan for six years.
Chiefly self-taught Frank Lloyd Wright from 1893, independently did several residential projects defining the ‘Prairie Style’. These houses had low-pitched roofs, deep overhangs without attics or basements, and generally had long rows of casement windows that emphasised the horizontal theme. His practice slowly encompassed apartments, group dwellings, recreation places, and commercial centres. After moving to Europe, he published books of his work. Due to a lot of upheaval in his private life and a financial catastrophe, the number of commissions he received reduced significantly, but he expanded his project profile to Japan and California. Later in life, he lectured at Chicago and Princeton. After the national economy recovered, a flow of commissions started coming to him, leading to priceless structures like Falling Water and Guggenheim Museum.
Frank Lloyd Wright had a unique and innovative design approach deeply influenced by his belief in organic architecture. He believed that buildings should be in harmony with their natural surroundings and that the design of a building should be based on its function and the needs of its occupants. He was known for his attention to detail and his belief that every building element, from the furniture to the light fixtures, should be designed to harmonise with the overall design. Unique among other architects, he pursued architecture for all through careful standardisation to achieve accessible tailoring options for the clients. Springing from this thought, he developed the Usonian concept, which reflected economic reality and changing trends during the second world war. He inculcated new technologies and materials, constantly expanding the boundaries of architecture to the next level.
Working on projects ranging from offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, museums, and other commercial spaces, Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy inspires architects and designers worldwide.
Taliesin West is a winter home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright. It blends perfectly with the surrounding nature due to the use of native materials like desert rock and sand. The structures are arranged in interconnected spaces that flow naturally around a central courtyard.
The Imperial Hotel, situated in Tokyo, Japan, was built using traditional Japanese materials and modern construction techniques between 1915 and 1923. Designed to be earthquake resistant, it featured a unique system of cantilevered floors and concrete piers that helped to distribute the weight of the building evenly.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater is a famous house in southwestern Pennsylvania, USA, designed and built between 1936 and 1939. The house is considered one of Wright’s masterpieces and is widely regarded as an icon of modern architecture. The most striking feature of Fallingwater is its cantilevered design, which allows the house to hover dramatically over the waterfall below. The house is made of local stone and concrete and is designed with large cantilevered terraces that provide panoramic views of the surrounding forest.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum is an iconic museum in New York City, USA, designed and built between 1943 and 1959. It was revolutionary, featuring a spiral ramp that curved up from the ground floor to the top of the building. The museum’s interior is designed to be a continuous flow of space, with the spiral ramp leading visitors on a journey through the collection. The ramp’s walls are curved, and the floors are sloped, creating a sense of movement and fluidity unique to the Guggenheim Museum.
Wright’s interiors often included built-in elements such as bookshelves, cabinets, and benches, designed to be functional and beautiful. He also designed several tables and desks, including the “Prairie Table” and the “Taliesin Table,” which feature simple, geometric designs made of natural materials such as wood and stone. In addition to his architectural work, Frank Lloyd Wright was also a prolific writer and educator. He wrote several books on architecture, including “The Natural House” and “An Autobiography,” and taught at several universities throughout his career.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s work was not only groundbreaking in terms of design and architecture but also in terms of the philosophy and values that underpinned his work. He believed that architecture should serve the needs of people and that it should be designed with a deep understanding of the natural world. His vision of organic architecture, which sought to integrate buildings with their surroundings and create a sense of unity between people and nature, was ahead of its time and remains relevant today. His legacy is one of innovation, creativity, and a deep commitment to creating buildings and spaces that are both functional and aesthetic.
Frank Llyod Wright Foundation[Online]Available at: https://franklloydwright.org/frank-lloyd-wright/
Edgar Kaufmann(April 2023)Frank Llyood Wright[Online]Available at : https://www.britannica.com/biography/Vincent-Scully
(August 18 2022)Art in Context Available at: https://artincontext.org/frank-lloyd-wright/
Rorry Stot(June 8 2019)Spot light-Frank Llyod Wright[Online]Available at:https://www.archdaily.com/513642/happy-birthday-frank-lloyd-wright
Citations for images/photographs – Print or Online:
1_Frank Llyod Wright_Wikipedia
2_Frank Lloyd Wright as a child_frankllyodwrightfoundation
3_F.L.Wright at his workplace_Frankllyodwrightfoundation
4_Frank Lloyd Wright engrossed in the design process_Fankllyodwrightfoundation
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