Frank Lloyd Wright – American Architect (1867-1959)

Frank Lincoln Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator who developed an organic and distinctly American style. He was the most influential American architect of the 20th century and over his career he designed numerous iconic buildings.

Frank Lloyd Wright was born on June 8, 1867, in Richland Center, Wisconsin. After college, he became chief assistant to architect Louis Sullivan. Wright then founded his own firm and developed a style known as the Prairie School, which strove for an “Organic Architecture” in designs for homes and commercial buildings.

Sullivan, who rejected ornate European styles in favor of a cleaner aesthetic summed up by his maxim “form follows function,” had a profound influence on Wright, who would eventually carry to completion Sullivan‘s dream of defining a uniquely American style of architecture.

Wright is widely considered the greatest American architect of all time. He perfected a distinctly American style of architecture that emphasized simplicity and natural beauty in contrast to the elaborate and ornate architecture that had prevailed in Europe. With seemingly superhuman energy and persistence, Wright designed more than 1.100 buildings during his lifetime, nearly one third of which he designed during his last decade.

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Guggenheim Museum, 1959, F. L. Wright
Guggenheim Museum, 1959, F. L. Wright

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What is the major works of Frank Lloyd Wright?

Wright was a great originator and a highly productive architect. Throughout his career he retained the use of ornamental detail, earthy colours, and rich textural effects. His sensitive use of materials helped to control and perfect his dynamic expression of space, which opened a new era in American architecture.

Wright designed buildings that integrated into the natural environments that surrounded them. Perhaps the most famous example of Wright’s daring design was Fallingwater, which Wright designed to literally hover over a waterfall.

Casa sulla cascata (Fallingwater), 1935, F. L. Wright
Kaufmann House (Fallingwater), 1935, F. L. Wright

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He became famous as the creator and expounder of “Organic Architecture,” his phrase indicating buildings that harmonize both with their inhabitants and with their environment. The boldness and fertility of his invention and his command of space are probably his greatest achievements.

The main works:

  • Winslow House, sobborgo di Chicago (1893);
  • Unity Temple, Chicago, Stati Uniti, (1906-1907);
  • Robie House, Chicago, Stati Uniti, (1908);
  • Midway Gardens, Chicago (1913-1914);
  • Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Giappone, (1916-1922);
  • Ennis House, Los Angeles, Stati Uniti, (1920-1924);
  • Kaufmann House – Fallingwater, Pittsburg (1932-1936);
  • Johnson Wax Headquarters, Racine (1936-1939);
  • Guggenheim Museum (1949-1959).

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