Friday, July 26, 2013

Influential architects - Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright is an incredibly influential architect because his work was so original, holistic, creative and varied. See some examples and learn what about his work was so unusual...

Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture.

Wright was a leader of the Prairie School movement of architecture.

from the blog of Anna Keizer (The PrintBlog)
Wright’s generally accepted status as America’s most celebrated and groundbreaking architect – pun intended, as he was a prolific visionary – is all the more impressive considering that he never received a high school diploma or college degree. As is the case with many creative thinkers, Wright found academia too tedious for his eclectic mind. Before he had a degree in hand, he went to work for Joseph Lyman Silsbee, an architect in Chicago.

As had been the case with his schooling, though, Wright eventually left Silsbee due to the firm’s inability to continually stimulate his fast-paced mind. Soon after he found himself under the direct tutelage of famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan from whom Wright received invaluable opportunities to design his first private homes.

A Unique Vision

Wright was very much in conflict with the prevailing architectural trends of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as popular Victorian conventions stressed ornate design and room separation. From the very beginning of his career, though, Wright focused on fusing artificial structures with the surrounding landscape. Over time, this design philosophy came to be known as organic architecture.

Architectural experts and historian buffs generally agree that Frank Lloyd Wright went through several distinct creative phases, the first of which is known as his Prairie Style period. Even during this earliest era of innovation, Wright became widely known for his style that sought to harmonize building design with nature.

Though his low rooflines, open floor plans, and horizontal motifs were initially at odds with the greater architectural community, his unique aesthetic soon gained great popularity with homeowners in the greater Chicago community. Wright lived in Oak Park, a town just on the outskirts of the burgeoning Midwestern metropolis, and there he designed more than four-dozen buildings that each exhibited traits of his organic architecture philosophy. Further exemplifying this mode of design, Wright incorporated into his architectural plans the use of local materials in the construction of his creations.

Due to his marital indiscretions, Wright suffered through a brief period of rejection by the local community. In response, he moved to Europe and later on relocated his studio to Wisconsin. As he regained his professional stature, Wright took commissions for both private residences and larger organizations such as the Guggenheim Foundation that saw his designs built across the nation. Aside from his many works in the Midwest, Frank Lloyd Wright’s creations can be found in California, Pennsylvania, and New York.

A Continued Legacy

Since his death in 1959, Wright’s influence has endured both in the United States and around the world. Though some may note his impact only on the architectural realm, his devotion to nature and the unification of structure and the environment has found global appeal.

Wright’s aesthetic can be found in other architectural creations such as those by Mies van der Rohe, and his emphasis on organic design has even transformed fashion and print. Both fields now commonly incorporate natural materials, including hemp and recycled paper, into their products.

Though more than 50 years have passed since his death, Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision is clearly a guiding force for contemporary artists and the common public alike.


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