Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 - April 9, 1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 projects, which resulted in more than 500 completed works. Wright promoted organic architecture (example: Fallingwater), was a leader of the Prairie School movement of architecture (the Robie House and the Westcott House), and developed the concept of the Usonian home (exemplified by the Rosenbaum House). His work includes original and innovative examples of many different building types, including offices, churches, schools, hotels, and museums. Wright also often designed many of the interior elements of his buildings, such as the furniture and stained glass.
Wright authored 20 books and many articles, and was a popular lecturer in the United States and in Europe. His colorful personal life often made headlines, most notably for the 1914 fire and murders at his Taliesin studio. Already well-known during his lifetime, Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as "the greatest American architect of all time".
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin in 1867. In 1877, his family settled in Madison, Wisconsin where He was educated at Second Ward School from 1879 to 1883. After a brief sting at the University of Wisconsin where he took some mechanical drawing and basic mathematics courses, Wright departed for Chicago where he spent several months in J. L. Silsbee's office before seeking employment with Adler and Sullivan, the practice of Louis Henri Sullivan.
New Interior concept and experimentations
Wright evolved a new concept of interior space in architecture. Rejecting the existing view of rooms as single-function boxes, Wright created overlapping and interpenetrating rooms with shared spaces. He designated use areas with screening devices and subtle changes in ceiling heights and created the idea of defined space as opposed to enclosed space.
Through experimentation, Wright developed the idea of the prairie house - a long, low building with hovering planes and horizontal emphasis. He developed these houses around the basic crucifix, L or T shape and utilized a basic unit system of organization. He integrated simple materials such as brick, wood, and plaster into the designs.
In 1914 Wright lost his lover and several members of his household when a servant burned down Taliesin, his home and studio in Wisconsin. Following the tragedy, he re-directed his architecture toward more solid, protective forms. Although he produced few works during the 1920s, Wright theoretically began moving in a new direction that would lead to some of his greatest works.
Significant later works
In 1932 Wright established the Taliesin Fellowship - a group of apprentices who did construction work, domestic chores, and design studies. Four years later, he designed and built both Fallingwater and the Johnson Administration Building. These designs re-invigorated Wright's career and led to a steady flow of commissions, particularly for lower middle income housing. Wright responded to this need with the Usonian house, a development from his earlier prairie house.
During the last part of his life, Wright produced a wide range of work. Particularly important was Taliesin West, a winter retreat and studio he built in near Phoenix, Arizona. He died at Taliesin West in 1959.
All our texts and many of our images appear under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License (CC BY-SA). All our content is written and edited by our community.