Biography of Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was arguably one of the best architects of the 19th and 20th centuries. His works ranged from traditional buildings typical to the late 1800’s to ultramodern designs (Official Site 1). He had a great knowledge of the land and his buildings were practical in terms of their surroundings. Wright’s appreciation and love for nature was a key characteristic, and a strong influence in his architecture.
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin (Hunt 180). He was brought up by his mother, Anna, and his aunts and uncles on farmland near Spring Green, Wisconsin. His father had abandoned the family in 1885 (Encarta 1). He studied engineering briefly at the University of Wisconsin, and he showed a good ability to draw. He then moved to Chicago in 1887 and worked as an assistant at the Chicago architectural firm of Adler and Sullivan. There he learned many of the trades of architecture and embarked on an independent path of his own in 1893 (Encarta 1).
Wright avoided anything that might be called a personal style (Encarta 1), but he defined his architecture as “organic,” which he saw as a principle of order, structure, and form relating in the process of nature (Burns 8). This meant that every building should relate harmoniously to it’s natural surroundings, and the building should not be a static boxlike enclosure but a dynamic structure with open flowing interior spaces. He once said, “No house should ever be on a hill or anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other (Official Site 1).” He achieved this design using geometric shapes that would form a pattern. His first models were mostly squares and he later used diamonds, hexagons, circles, and other geometric units for which he would lay the floor plan (Encarta 1). Wright also used long projections, often balconies or rooftops that were supported at only one end to create this effect. These geometric designs and jutting projections made Wright’s designs the opposite of the boxes with openings that he was trying to avoid.
Wright also had an extreme appreciation for nature. Throughout his life Wright spoke of the influence of nature on his work and attributed his love of nature to those early years spent in the rural Wisconsin countryside…
…d, who has done as much to realize his vision of what a perfect architecture might be… (PBS Online 1).” Wright died in 1959, and he left behind a great legacy. His works are still considered modern today, even thought it is almost 50 years after his death. So, as Simon and Garfunkel sing, “Architects may come, and architects may go…”, but there will never be another architect like Frank Lloyd Wright.
Burns, Robert. “Frank Lloyd Wright in the Twenty-first Century.” National Forum. Summer 2000. 8-10. 2 Mar 2001.
Frank Lloyd Wright. 10 Mar 2001.
Harper, Hillard. “Show Explores the Wright Frame of Mind.” The Los Angeles Times. 5 Mar 1988. 3 Mar 2001.
Hunt, William Dudley Jr. “Wright, Frank Lloyd.” Encyclopedia Americana. 180.Official Site of Frank Lloyd Wright. 1996-2001. 10 Mar 2001.
PBS Online. 1995-2001. 10 Mar 2001.
Taschen, Benedikt. Frank Lloyd Wright. Germany: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. 1991.
Weishan, Michael. “A Work of Genius.” Country Living. Nov 2000. 26-30. 9 Mar 2001.
Williams Students Online. 3 Mar 2001.
“Wright, Frank Lloyd.” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2001. CD-ROM. 1993-2000 Ed.