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Frank Lloyd Wright
(1867-1969)

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Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, who was a pioneer of the modern style. He is considered one of the greatest figures in 20th-century architecture. 
  • USA 1965.  Frank Lloyd Wright in front of the Guggenheim Museum, New York.  
  • USA 2005. From the sheet "Masterpieces of American Architecture". The interior of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. 

USA 1965. Architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright.

USA 2005. Architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright. Interior of Guggenheim Museum, New York.

USA 1982. Architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright. "Fallingwater Mill Run". PA.

Wright was born June 8, 1867, in Richland Center, Wisconsin. When he entered the University of Wisconsin in 1884 his interest in architecture had already become apparent. The university offered no courses in his chosen field, however, and he studied civil engineering and gained some practical experience by working part time on a construction project at the university. In 1887 he left and went to Chicago, where he became a designer for the firm of Adler and Sullivan. One of the partners of this company, the American architect Louis Sullivan, had a profound influence on Wright's work. In 1893 Wright left the firm to establish his own office in Chicago. 
  • USA 1982.  Frank Lloyd Wright:  "Fallingwater Mill Run"  PA.

Organic Architecture 
Wright created the philosophy of "organic architecture", the central principle of which maintains that the building should develop out of its natural surroundings. From the outset he exhibited bold originality in his designs for both private and public structures and rebelled against the ornate Neo-Classical and Victorian styles favoured by conventional architects. Wright was opposed to the mechanical imposition of preconceived styles. He believed that the architectural form must ultimately be determined in each case by the particular function of the building, its environment, and the type of materials employed in the structure. Among his fundamental contributions was the use of various building materials for their natural colours and textures, as well as for their structural characteristics. His interiors emphasize the sense of spaciousness, which derives from open planning with one room flowing into another. This concept was particularly evident in his early single-family houses, the so-called prairie houses, among them the Martin House (1904) in Buffalo, New York; the Coonley House (1908) in Riverside, Illinois; and the Robie House (1909) in Chicago.

New Techniques 
Wright initiated many new techniques, such as the use of pre-cast concrete blocks reinforced by steel rods. He also introduced numerous innovations, including air conditioning, indirect lighting, and panel heating. The Larkin Building in Buffalo, New York, which he designed in 1904, was the first office building to utilize air conditioning, double-glass windows, all-glass doors, and metal furniture. Among his remarkable engineering feats was the design of the huge Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, constructed to withstand earthquakes. To obtain the required flexibility, he employed cantilever construction with a foundation floating on a bed of soft mud. The building was completed in 1922, and it suffered no damage in the disastrous earthquake that occurred in the following year.

Throughout his career, architects who were more conventional than Wright opposed his unorthodox methods. Beset with personal difficulties and professional antagonisms, he passed a year of self-imposed exile (1909-1910) in Europe. Upon his return, established in Taliesin (named after a 6th-century Welsh bard), the home and school he built for himself near Spring Green, Wisconsin, he began anew on a career of ever-widening achievements. Among his later works are the Millard House (1923) in Pasadena, California; the Kaufmann House (1937), called Fallingwater, at Bear Run, Pennsylvania (now maintained by the state and open to the public); the Johnson Wax Company Administration Building (1939) in Racine, Wisconsin; the First Unitarian Church (1947) in Madison, Wisconsin; the V. C. Morris gift shop (1950) in San Francisco; and the Price Tower (1953), a skyscraper in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. In 1959 he completed the curvilinear Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Other Interests 
Wright devoted much of his time to writing, lecturing, and teaching. By 1908 he had originated most of the principles that are today the fundamental concepts of modern architecture. Although his early struggle against eclecticism attracted the hostility of the American academicians, nevertheless his work profoundly influenced the development of contemporary architecture in the United States as well as in Europe. At Taliesin West (begun 1938), his winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona, Wright established a studio-workshop for apprentices who assisted him on his projects. He also founded the Taliesin Fellowship to support such efforts. His writings include An Autobiography (1932; revised ed. 1943), An Organic Architecture (1939), Genius and the Mobocracy (1949), and Natural House (1954). Wright died in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 9, 1959. 

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