Frank Lloyd Wright was an architect, interior designer, writer, and educator. He designed more than 1,000 projects and over 500 of them were completed. He promoted organic architecture in his time which is quite popular now. (Baruffii, 2008) He also designed officer, churches, schools, sky scrapers, and museums. He authored more than twenty books and many articles. He was a popular lecturer in both Europe and the United States (Toronto Star, 1987). This paper will discuss Frank Lloyd Wright’s history and compare it to the reasons why he is still popular today and will remain popular in the future.
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center Wisconsin into a farming family who struggled to make a living. His parents separated when he was 14. Frank then became responsible for his mother and sister as he never saw his father again. There is no record of him graduating from high school but he was accepted as a special student at University of Wisconsin in 1886. He married in 1889 and built his own home at that time. Frank Wright then went to work for another architect but lost his job when that architect found that he was designing for some on his own.
He then established a business of his own out of his home. He renovated and added on to the house several times. He moved his office downtown and then moved it several other times (Huxtadey, 2009). Frank Lloyd Wright left his wife with six children to spend time in Europe while writing his first book, with the wife of a friend. He then came home and built Taliesin on 200 acres inherited by his mother. His then wife and her two children were murdered in this home. The home became his winter home and is now the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.
This home is located in Scottsdale Arizona and could not be more “green” than if it had been built as part of that movement today. Wright then met and moved into to Taliesin again with a divorcee though he was still married to his first wife. He, at the same time began to the design of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. He lived in Tokyo during the construction of the building. Keeping his innovative style, he designed the Imperial Hotel using both Japanese and Western architecture. He wanted to show that Japan was becoming a modern nation and that they had ties to the West.
The Imperial Hotel was demolished in 1968 but some of the entrance was retained in a museum. It is studied to this day for design tones for today and tomorrows buildings. During the depression, like everyone else work was difficult to find. Wright began lecturing and writing at this time and had finally received a divorce from his first wife and married a second. He finished several books by now and was contributing to architecture magazine. Shortly thereafter, he opened his school at Talesman. The tuition was $1,100 and he shortly had a waiting list.
In 1934 Wright designed and built Fallingwater which has become one of the most famous pieces of architecture in the world. The house was built for Edgar Kaufmann in Bear Run Pennsylvania. It was built on a waterfall. During this time Wright was also beginning to design his modest housing. The first was his Usonian house in Madison Wisconsin. He believed that everyone should have an architect and not a cookie cutter house. (wright. htm) Wrights Fallingwater house is one of those designs that speak to our thesis. It is a design of his day, a design of today and is believed to be a design for tomorrow.
There are things about mans human nature that we tend to forget. We are a part of nature. When Wright designed this home he liked the powerful sound of the waterfall and the strength and beauty of the forest around it. There were dramatic rock ledges and beautiful colors in the granite all around. He wanted the design to flow as part of nature and it did and does and will. It takes ones imagination to a place many of want to go but find difficulty in getting to. Many thousands of people view this home every year and are in awe of its beauty and design (Steffenson, 2009).
Wright then returned to Arizona where he got involved in many projects in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area. He designed the Opera House at the University of Arizona which was originally designed to be built in the Mid-East but was built here instead. He had a short period in his history when he suddenly likes what can only be called retro-sci-fi modernism. At that time, he designed what was to be the Southwest Christian Seminary. Many say the design was straight out of Flash Gordon. The design was never built. Benjamin Adelmans House was designed and built in Scottsdale in 1951.
The Norman Lykes house was the final house in the area as it was designed just before Wright died in 1959. It was a 2,800 sq. ft. home that was circular in design and was actually built in 1967. He had much influence in architecture in the area as he was this areas most famous snow bird. He came here every winter and consistently had another idea for the desert. That was one of the beautiful things about Wright is that he could see beauty everywhere and was able to use the landscape as part of the design. Is that not what we are looking for today and probably tomorrow?
Last but not least there is the Guggenheim Museum. It turns 50 this year (Lubow, 2009). Wright had yearning to elevate human society through its architecture. He felt that how we lived was how we learned. The beauty of where we lived should be mainted and nature should be a part of all design. The Guggenheim Museum is a part of the dream and the vision that Wright had throughout his life. This would be the last building he designed. It opened in New York City October 21, 1959 (Lubow, 2009). Frank Lloyd Wright died 6 months before it opened. He had many problems in making it happen.
There were budget issues, building code issues, and even issues with the artists that would eventually display in the building. He spent essentially 16 years of his life designing and overseeing this building. There are some of those issues that the artists were concerned about. It is difficult to hang paintings in the museum because of the slanting of walls among other things. However, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and it is said that it is prophetic in its way of meeting the needs of today and the world of art (Lubow, 2009).
Wright seemed to see today’s world and how we would envision art when he designed the building. This writer would wonder if the next 100 years they will feel the same. One of the many things that Wright believed shows in his design of the spaces at the Guggenheim. He felt that though we all crave being alone sometimes, we are only truly well developed humans when we are all socially developed. The Guggenheim is built to accommodate that. It is huge and seems bigger than life but as one ambles through, it feels as if one is alone with the art and at the same time a part of those around them. Only the design can make one feel this way.
Again, is this not a design for the future? There are so many beautiful spaces built by Frank Lloyd Wright. We can only begin to know what he was truly thinking. In his biography he talks about his beliefs about human nature and the spaces they live in. His Prairie houses were built for the average homeowner and yet they are like no house that any of us can own though many of us would like to. The Prairie houses were low horizontal designs with open interior spaces. You see their influence in homes all over the United States. In conclusion, it is obvious that the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright has not gone away.
His original designs are some of the most beautiful designs in the world and he is appreciated as the most famous architect of his time. He continues to be popular today as we try to move toward designs that are more natural and more part of the nature around us. In all of the designs that have been developed to take in the affects of the landscape around them we find Wright elements. These are the things that support the fact that Frank Lloyd Wright was a visionary of his time, our time and the future. Resources Baruffi, K. , (2008). 10 great places to behold Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision. USA Today.
Available at http://www. ebscohost. com http://architect. architecture. sk/frank-lloyd-wright-architect/frank-lloyd-wright-architect. php Huxtadey, A. , (2009). The hand and eye of genius. Wall Street Journal. 25(24) pg. 7. Lubow, A. , (2009). The triumph of Frank Lloyd Wright. Smithsonian; 40 (3) pg 52-61. Prairie Styles, Frank Lloyd Wright (1997). http://www. prairiestyles. com/wright. htm Steffensen, I. , (2009). Frank Lloyd Wright and the gift of genius. The Journal of American Culture, 32:3. pg. 257-268. Toronto Star. (1987). Frank Lloyd Wright: his influence lives on in home furnishings; AP news features. Pg 6.
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