A poet among architects – a tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright
“Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age”.
This quote comes from American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, whose life works undoubtedly earned him a place among the greats of his generation.
A pioneering architect who would change the world – without qualifications
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin. In 1885, he embarked on a mechanical engineering course, which he quit after just two years of study. Instead, he began working for architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee in Chicago, before moving over to Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, who were already well-established members of the Chicago school. His new role involved a great deal of responsibility, and in his free time, Wright began to design his first houses – developing the beginnings of his own style, with open-plan layouts, overhanging roofs and wide band windows.
Organic architecture in harmony with nature
Shortly after Wright founded his own architecture firm, he developed the hallmarks of his designs into a brand-new architectural style known as the Prairie School.
This style combined modern geometries with ornamental details, with constructions designed to place emphasis on the horizontal plane. Each and every aspect of Wright’s buildings – even down to the finest interior details – formed part of the architectural design produced by Wright himself. By 1901, the architect had designed over fifty Prairie-style houses, complete with signature flat overhanging roofs and prominent chimneys. By this stage in his career, Wright was placing increasing importance on working in harmony with nature. His work shaped the organic architecture movement, which aims to design buildings that integrate seamlessly into their surroundings. This may involve selecting a colour scheme that reflects the natural setting in which the house is constructed, or using a minimalist structure made from authentic, natural materials that retain their natural properties and appearance. Other prominent representatives of the organic architecture movement include Antoni Gaudí, Louis Sullivan and Hugo Häring.
After the Second World War, Wright’s style underwent another major shift, resulting in the construction of the famous spirals of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. It was this building that was ultimately to become Wright’s most prominent legacy.
By the time the architect passed away in 1959, he had created over five hundred buildings designed to achieve harmony and strike a balance between architecture and its environment.
What are your thoughts? Do you think architecture should stand out from its surroundings or integrate into the landscape?
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