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Fascinating facts about Frank Lloyd Wright
inventor of modern architecture
in 1893
.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Inventor: Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright photo derived from public domain
Criteria: Modern prototype. Entrepreneur.
Birth: June 8, 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin
Death: April 9, 1959 in Phoenix, Arizona
Nationality: American

Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect, who was a pioneer in the modern style. He is considered one of the greatest figures in 20th-century architecture.

Wright was born June 8, 1867, in Richland Center, Wisconsin. When he entered the University of Wisconsin in 1884 his interest in architecture had already declared itself. The university offered no courses in his chosen field, however, and he matriculated in civil engineering and gained some practical experience by working part time on a construction project at the university. In 1887 he left school and went to Chicago, where he became a designer for the firm of Adler and Sullivan. One of the partners of this company, the American architect Louis Sullivan, had a profound influence on Wright's work. In 1893 Wright left the firm to establish his own office in Chicago.

Wright created the philosophy of "organic architecture," the central principle of which maintains that the building should develop out of its natural surroundings. From the outset he exhibited bold originality in his designs for both private and public structures and rebelled against the ornate neoclassic and Victorian styles favored by conventional architects. Wright was opposed to the mechanical imposition of preconceived styles. He believed that the architectural form must ultimately be determined in each case by the particular function of the building, its environment, and the type of materials employed in the structure. Among his fundamental contributions was the use of various building materials for their natural colors and textures, as well as for their structural characteristics. His interiors emphasize the sense of spaciousness, which derives from open planning with one room flowing into another. This concept was particularly evident in his early single-family houses, the so-called prairie houses, among them the Martin House (1904) in Buffalo, New York; the Coonley House (1908) in Riverside, Illinois; and the Robie House (1909) in Chicago.

Wright initiated many new techniques, such as the use of precast concrete blocks reinforced by steel rods. He also introduced numerous innovations, including air conditioning, indirect lighting, and panel heating. The Larkin Building in Buffalo, New York, which he designed in 1904, was the first office building to utilize air conditioning, double-glass windows, all-glass doors, and metal furniture. Among his remarkable engineering feats was the design of the huge Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, constructed to withstand earthquakes. To obtain the required flexibility, he employed cantilever construction with a foundation floating on a bed of soft mud. The building was completed in 1922, and it suffered no damage in the disastrous earthquake that occurred in the following year.

Throughout his career, architects who were more conventional than Wright opposed his unorthodox methods. Beset with personal difficulties and professional antagonisms, he passed a year of self-imposed exile (1909-10) in Europe. Upon his return, established in Taliesin (named after a 6th-century Welsh bard), the home and school he built for himself near Spring Green, Wisconsin, he began anew on a career of ever-widening achievements. Among his later works are the Millard House (1923) in Pasadena, Calif; the Kaufmann House (1937), called Fallingwater, at Bear Run, Pennsylvania (now maintained by the state and open to the public); the Johnson Wax Company Administration Building (1939) in Racine, Wisconsin; the First Unitarian Church (1947) in Madison, Wisconsin; the V. C. Morris gift shop (1950) in San Francisco; and the Price Tower (1953), a skyscraper in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. In 1959 he completed the curvilinear Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

Wright spent much time in writing, lecturing, and teaching. By 1908 he had originated most of the principles that are today the fundamental concepts of modern architecture. Although his early struggle against eclecticism won him the hostility of the American academicians, nevertheless his work profoundly influenced the development of contemporary architecture in the U.S. as well as in Europe. At Taliesin West (begun 1938), his winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona, Wright established a studio-workshop for apprentices who assisted him on his projects. He also founded the Taliesin Fellowship to support such efforts. His writings include An Autobiography (1932; revised ed. 1943), An Organic Architecture (1939), Genius and the Mobocracy (1949), and Natural House (1954). Wright died in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 9, 1959.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
The Entrepreneur    from The Great Idea Finder
The Philanthropist   from The Great Idea Finder
Invention of Lincoln Logs by John lloyd Wright, his son.  from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Frank Lloyd Wright : His Life and His Architecture
by Richard Twombly, Robert Twombly / Paperback - 456 pages / John Wiley & Sons -1987
A good selection of photography and drawings not seen in most others books.
Frank Lloyd Wright
by Robert McCarter / Paperback - 368 pages  / (October 1999)
Phaidon Press Inc.
Of all the books that have appeared in the last 10 years on Frank Lloyd Wright and his architecture, this is the one that will last.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Houses
by Thomas A. Heinz / Hardcover: 80 pages / Gramercy (May 7, 2002)
This beautifully illustrated book takes a look at many unusual private homes designed by Wright, from the cantilevered "Fallingwater" in Pennsylvania to the "Desert-rose" concrete-block Lykes House in Phoenix, Arizona. Includes many popular examples of Wright's most famous houses.

ON THE SCREEN:
Frank Lloyd Wright - A film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (1998)
Video / Rated: NR / VHS NTSC / Color, Closed-captioned, Black & White, Box set ( 2 tapes) / Starring: Edward Herrmann / Director: Ken Burns, Lynn Novick
Frank Lloyd Wright was the greatest of all American architects. He was an authentic American genius, a man who believed he was destined to redesign the world, creating everything anew. Over the course of his long career, Wright designed over eight hundred buildings. Wright's buildings and his ideas changed the way we live, work and see the world around us.
The Homes of Frank Lloyd Wright (1998)
Video / Rated: NR / VHS NTSC / Color  ASIN: 0767000099
Originally broadcast as part of A&E's America's Castles series, this program celebrates and makes accessible the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright, hailed as this century's greatest architect. This video is a must-own for architectural buffs, but even if you're just getting in on the ground floor and don't know your vestibule from your veranda, this program will make you feel right at home.


ON THE WEB:

Frank Lloyd Wright
Web companion to the PBS documentary.
(URL: www.pbs.org/flw)

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Information about the Foundation's programs and resources on the legacy of Architect Frank Lloyd Wright
(URL: www.franklloydwright.org)
Frank Lloyd Wright School of Archirecture
The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture located in Scottsdale. Arizona
(URL: www.taliesin.edu/)
Frank Lloyd Wright Designs for an American Landscape
Located at the Library of Congress site this LOC exhibit has much to offer.

(URL: lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/flw/flw.html)
All Wright Site
This site offers a complete guide to Frank Lloyd Wright's built work, along with pages concerning other aspects of this important architect
(URL: www.geocities.com/allwrightsite/flw.html)
Fallingwater
A Web site dedicated to the preservation of Western Pennsylvania landmarks.
(URL: www.paconserve.org/index-fw1.asp)
List of Frank Lloyd Wright Works
This is a list of houses, structures, and other works by Frank Lloyd Wright. From Wikipedia.
(URL: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Frank_Lloyd_Wright_works).


WORDS OF WISDOM:
"Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union"  - Frank Lloyd Wright

"An architect's most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board, and a wrecking bar at the site"  -
Frank Lloyd Wright

"An idea is salvation by imagination"  -
Frank Lloyd Wright

DID YOU KNOW:

  • Lincoln Logs, the toy construction set, were invented by John lloyd Wright, Frank lloyd Wright's son..
Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised March 8, 2007.
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