'Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain.'
Frank Lloyd Wright may be America’s most famous architect. He did not only design many buildings but brought up many revolutionary ideas and even founded an own school of architecture.
In the begining...
Frank Lloyd Wright was born on June 8, 1867, in the town of Richland Center, Wisconsin. His parents brought him up with strong Unitarian and transcendental principles. In his youth he played with kindergarden educational blocks, which were various geometric shaped blocks.
In 1885, Wright started his fromal education at the University of Wisconsin School for Engineering. He split his time between classes and apprenticing under Allen Conover. Allen Conover was a local builder and professor of civil engineering. Wright left the university in 1887 without a degree.
Road to the Birth of a Legacy
In 1893, after working for several firms, Wright started his own practice. By 1901 he completed 50 projects, some in his home town. His designs during the period between 1900 and 1910 were "Pairie Houses". The reason Wright designed the homes in this way was that the style was said to complement the land around Chicago. These works show a fore-shadowing of what Wright will design later in life. The Prairie Houses had major points to their design: :
- harmonisation of the type of building with nature
- taking up the horizontals of landscape
- colours of nature
- visibility of the natural structure of materials of nature
- a central fireplace
- the living spaces arranged around the center fireplace
In the Prairie Houses, Wright used simple geometric shapes and kept the house asymmetrical to eliminate the "living in a box" feeling. Another aspect of using simple geometric shaps was to help the house flow and blend with nature better. The "destruction of the box" as it is called gave the house no clear borders and led to "floating rooms".
He got into an affair with his neighboor's wife that nearly cost him his ability to practice in the United States. Several more tragities followed in the following years.
Begining the Legacy
In the thirties, Wright began on the style that made him famous. In 1939, the home Fallingwater was completed. The way the house was built was so that it would compliment the beauty of nature, and have simple and elegant geometry. The building had balconies and many other bold ideas that Wright was known for.
Wright designed his houses to the smallest detail, including the exterior and internal fixtures. He designed and custom made many aspects of Fallingwater just to make the house flow with nature on the outside as well as inside. He custom made all the furniture, carpet, the light fittings, and decorative elements throughout the house.
He used an organic style of architecture. Meaning, that the house was made heavily on materials that matched the surrouding area, and the design fit as well. A desert house would have been made heavily of stone and have rambling floor plans.
In 1959, the Guggenheim Museum was completed after three years of construction. The actual planning of the museum had started in 1943. The museum was built around a large circular open area with a downward sloping ramp that wrapped around the walls. Wright hated the idea of having to go the same way back as you entered. Wright decided to design the museum in order to have people go up a lift1, then go down the ramp and out the doors. The museum works the opposite now though. The sloping walkway was thought was better for presenting pictures.
Wright also custom made every aspect his own home from the ground up. His home is called Taliesin
Wright died in 1959 and was cremated, and later interred to the Scottsdale, Arizona, where a memorial garden is located, as his final resting place. This was the final wish of his third wife, Olgivanna. He rests there along with Olgivanna and her daughter of her earlier marriage. The cemetery in Richland, Wisconsin holds a grave marked "Frank Lloyd Wright" but it is empty.