Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

 Architect, interior designer, writer, and educator Frank Lincoln Wright developed an organic and distinctly American style. He was possibly the most influential American architect of the 20th century. 

Frank Lloyd Wright photo: Black and white picture of the man looking to the left with his head resting on his hands.
Photo of Frank Lloyd Wright

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Nurturing His Passion

Frank Lloyd Wright was born on June 8, 1867, in Wisconsin, to a family of Unitarian Welsh preachers. His mother brought him up following the principles of Friedrich Froebel, in which the concept of “Spielgabe” (translated as “gifts of play”) plays an important role. Spheres, cubes, cylinders and other primitive solids made from various materials, such as yarn or wood, can be manipulated and assembled in endless variations, which would capture children’s imagination.

Frank Lloyd Wright in 1926: Black and white photograph of the designer.
Frank Lloyd Wright in 1926

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About His Career

Winslow House, Chicago suburb (1893): A large, flat house with color blocking style.
Winslow House, Chicago suburb (1893)

Image source: by Teemu008

After enrolling as a student at the Wisconsin Faculty of Engineering, which he later left, he started as an apprentice in two important studies. First, with J.L. Silsby and then with the Chicago office of Dankmar Adler and Louis Henry Sullivan, the pioneers of modern American architecture. He stayed there for about six years, from 1887 to 1893, devoting himself primarily to designing single-family homes, while Adler and Sullivan built skyscrapers and commercial buildings.

Wright was greatly influenced by Sullivan, whose motto was “form follows function” and rejected the more florid European styles, in favor of a purer aesthetic. Further, Wright followed his ideas and developed them into a unique brand of modern American architecture.

Later, Wright founded his firm and employed a style that became known as the Prairie School. Throughout his career, he was the creator and master of organic architecture, with was the harmony between human constructions and the inhabitants and its natural surroundings. Additionally, the audacity and fruitfulness of his process and his mastery of space are probably his greatest achievements.

Modern Architecture, functionalist example.- The Guggenheim museum (New York, USA 2012), by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1939
The Guggenheim museum by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1939

Image source: by paularps

His Major Works

  • Winslow House (1893) in Chicago, USA
  • Unity Temple (1906-1907) in Chicago, USA
  • Robie House (1908-1910) in Chicago, USA
  • Midway Gardens (1913-1914) in Chicago, USA
  • Imperial Hotel (1916-1922) in Tokyo, Japan
Frederick C. Robie House, photo taken from the road.
The Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago, Illinois

Image source: by Teemu008

Robie House, Chicago, Illinois - designed by Frank Lloyd Wright: Windows inside the structure with geometric designs.
Robie House with windows designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Image source: by Jules Antonio

  • Ennis House (1920-1924) in Los Angeles, USA
  • Kaufmann House or Fallingwater House (1932-1936) Pittsburg, USA
  • Johnson Wax Headquarters (1936-1939) in Racine, USA
  • Guggenheim Museum (1949-1959) in New York City, USA
  • Norman Lykes house (1959)in Phoenix, USA

Perhaps the most famous example of Wright’s daring design philosophy was Fallingwater House, which Wright designed to hover over a waterfall.

Falling water house by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Kauffman Falling Water House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Image source: by brdonovan

Falling Water House: View of the house from the waterfall.
View of the House from the waterfall

Image source: by focusc

About His Style

Frank Lloyd Wright and his unique interpretation of design made him one of the greatest architects of all time. Further, he perfected a distinctly American style that emphasized simplicity and natural beauty in contrast to the intricate and ornate constructs that prevailed in Europe. With apparently endless energy and tenacity, Wright designed over 1,100 buildings in his lifetime, nearly a third of which in the past decade.

Unity Temple, Chicago, USA, (1906-1907) by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright: A photo of the simple structure.
Unity Temple (1906-1907) by Frank Lloyd Wright

Image source: by Bernt Rostad

Wright was a pioneer and a highly productive creator. Throughout his career, he retained the use of ornamental detail, earthy colors, and rich textures and effects. His sensible use of materials helped to control and perfect his dynamic expression of space, opening a new era in American architecture. Too impetuous to be contained, his works would go on to touch Europe and, in later years, Japan.

Ennis House, Los Angeles, USA: A photo of the spiral design on the side of the structure.
Ennis House in Los Angeles, USA, (1920-1924)

Image source: by pom’.

Imperial Hotel (1947) in Tokyo, Japan: Black and White photo of the complex structure.
Imperial Hotel (1947) in Tokyo, Japan

Image source: by army.arch

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