|Fascinating facts about Frank Lloyd Wright
inventor of modern architecture in 1893.
Frank Lloyd Wright
June 8, 1867 in Richland
April 9, 1959 in
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,
The Entrepreneur from The Great Idea Finder
The Philanthropist from
The Great Idea Finder
Lincoln Logs by John lloyd Wright, his son. from
The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
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.
by Robert McCarter / Paperback - 368 pages / (October 1999)
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:
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:
Web companion to the PBS documentary.
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Information about the Foundation's programs and resources on the legacy of
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright School of
The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture located in Scottsdale. Arizona
Frank Lloyd Wright
Designs for an American Landscape
Located at the Library of Congress site this LOC exhibit has much to offer.
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
A Web site dedicated to the preservation of Western Pennsylvania
List of Frank Lloyd Wright Works
This is a list of houses, structures, and other works by Frank Lloyd
Wright. From Wikipedia.
WORDS OF WISDOM:
follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should
be one, joined in a spiritual union"
"An architect's most useful
tools are an eraser at the drafting board, and a wrecking bar at the
"An idea is salvation by
DID YOU KNOW:
- Lincoln Logs, the toy construction
set, were invented by John lloyd Wright,
Frank lloyd Wright's son..
Sources in BOLD Type
page revised March 8, 2007.
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