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Frank Lloyd Wright


Frank Lloyd Wright

-Born to the parents of William Cary Wright and Anna Lloyd-Jones on June 8, 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin. Originally named Frank Lincoln Wright, but due to the divorcing of his parents was named Frank Lloyd Wright. After the divorce, the family settled in Madison, Wisconsin where he attended Madison High School. -Wright realized he would want to venture into becoming an architect after spending numerous summers with his Uncle James Lloyd Jones’ on his farm in Springs Green, Wisconsin. Surprisingly, in 1885, Wright dropped out of school to work for Allan Conover, the Dean of the University of Wisconsin’s Engineering department. After studying civil engineering for two semesters at the University, Wright would move on to Chicago. Here, Wright had the pleasure of working with Joseph Lyman Silsbee, a local architect. He also drafted his first building, the Lloyd-Jones family chapel, also known as Unity Chapel. -Influenced by Louis Sullivan, which would later contribute to his own theory of “Form and Function Are One,” which was based on the belief of American function, not European traditions. Later, he met and fell in love with Catherin Tobin while working under Sullivan. The two would end up building a home in Oak Park, Illinois and where they would raise their five children. Years later, in 1893, the business relationship of Sullivan and Wright would come to an end. Wright would continue to flourish and open his own firm in Chicago. Shortly after, Wright would move his practice to his home in Oak Park. -As a young, aspiring architect, Wright revealed a unique talent within his early houses. Wright’s houses had established a style of their own through his use of horizontal plane, no basements, no attics, natural materials, low-pitched rooflines with deep overhands, and uninterrupted walls of windows. He never painted in his houses and believed in merging his homes into the environment. He also created large stone or brick fireplaces in the homes as the heart and rooms open to each other for a continuous flow. This creative and simplistic style would become an inspiration to the Prairie School, a group of architects whose style was indigenous of Midwestern architecture. Which is shown in his creations of the Robie House in Chicago, Illinois and the Martin House in Buffalo, New York. -Wright has later decided to move to Germany with another woman, Mamah Borthwick Cheney, in 1909. Then after two years of living in Germany, they moved back to Spring Green, Wisconsin on ancestors’ land that his mother had given to him. This was the same land that his spent his summers with his uncle as a boy. Here in Spring Green, Wright constructed Taliesin and lived there until 1914. A crazy outburst of tragedy took over that year by a servant murdering Cheney and six others, and then set fire to Taliesin. This horrific even fueled people’s beliefs in it being the end of Wright’s career, but he fought past it and decided to rebuild Taliesin.


-Over the next 20 years Wright became a powerhouse of architectural design and influence that not only spread throughout the United States and Europe, but overseas as well. In 1915, Wright started to develop and refine his architectural and sociological philosophies through the commission to design the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. He believed in building into nature, straying away from the urban environment, his style differentiated and surpassed other architect of the time. Embracing nature, he used natural materials, skylights and wall of windows to encompass the natural environment that he thrived on. Wright believed in that the shapes found in the environment should not only be integrated, but should become the basis of American architecture. His greatest accomplishments of this basis would be the Larkin Company Administration Building in Buffalo, New York (1903), and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City (1943). -When Wright finally opened up Taliesin in 1932, he created it so young students could pay to work with and learn from him. An architectural fellowship of thirty apprentices lived with him at Taliesin. Through this Wright created some of his most remarkable pieces. One such as the Fallingwater (the Kaufmann House) in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, and the SC Johnson and Son Wax Company Administration Center in Racine, Wisconsin. Soon after, Wright would separate from Miriam Noel, and later meet his third wife, Olivanna Milanoff. The couple would settle in Wisconsin while raising their one child, but would find the winters to be too much for them. Later he would move his family in 1937 to Phoenix, Arizona. While in Arizona, Wright would build Taliesin West, and settle for the last twenty years of his life.

-Wright would take advantage of the wonderful climate in Arizona by continually transforming and constructing the Taliesin and Taliesin West, while simultaneously incorporating the surrounding environments in his design. -By the end of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career he created over 1,141 designs with only 532 completed. He had achieved international recognition of his innovative building style and contemporary designs. His designs were not only great due to the form, but for the function of it as well. In summary, Frank Lloyd Wright created beautiful work to not just live in, but to show the influence of nature and how we lived. This architectural influencing genius passed at 92 years of age on April 9, 1959 at his home in Phoenix, Arizona.


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Having grown up around Spring Green, Wisconsin, Frank Lloyd Wright recognized that architecture in a way was subject to similar organic laws. Wright would later travel to Chicago where he would be exposed to some of the most advanced architecture. While in Chicago, Wright would gain inspiration from the Firm of Adler and Sullivan, where he was a craftsman. Japanese Art would also be inspiration for Wright. After collecting Japanese posters and Wright would later travel to Japan. Inspired by the open, free flowing space and intimate scale, all of which we will start seeing in Wrights work.

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Fallingwater House (1935) The Kaufmann House


The Kaufmann House

Fallingwater House (1935)

Despite the many ups and downs Wright would endure throughout his architecture career, things would finally begin to change for him in 1937. This would come after the creation of what would be one of Wright’s master pieces. This architecture design is called “Fallingwater” Wright paid very close attention to detail within the inside of Fallingwater. Frank Lloyd Wright was one who believed in the relationship harmony between the structure and its environment. This “Organic Philosophy”, named by Wright himself, can be seen throughout the architecture structure and environment of Wrights “Falling Water” house. Designed by Wright, this beautiful structure was built in the rural area of Mill Run, in Pennsylvania.


Guggenheim Museum (1943) New York City In June of 1943, the art advisor of Solomon R. Guggenheim, Hilla Rebay , would ask Wright to design a new building for them. This building would be the home of Guggenheim’s 4-year-old Museum of Non Objective Painting. The design Wright used this structure would show off his unique take on geometry and modern architecture. The structure would be made up of the different geometrics shapes such as ovals, arcs, circles and triangles all echoing one another. Being that Wright found inspiration within nature, it should come without any surprise that the Guggenheim Museum was inspired by shape of a snail’s shell. The spiral design would resemble that of a nautilus shell, with its continuous free flowing space. With its noticeable sculpture style, and characteristics, this is one of the distinguishing attributes that separate Wright’s style from that of International Style.

Guggenheim Museum (1943) New York City

Wright would make the experience of the visitors like no other. Instead the normal staircase, he would make walk way in the museum zig zag. Having the visitors ride the elevator to the top of the museum, they were then able to walk down the ramps that would zig and zag. This unique design would allow for the viewer to be able to enjoy the exhibition without any distractions.


In Wrights early efforts of developing a style of Southern California, he would create the Hollyhock home. Built between 1919 – 1921, this original home was built for Aline Barnshall in the East Hollywood neighborhood of Barnsdall Park in Los Angeles California. One of the many attributes that stand out in this design, is the courtyard. Wright used his unique design by building this home around the center courtyard. This house shows off Wright’s ability to bring together the surroundings of a home to the home it self. This Wright home is now National Landmark.

Hollyhock House (1919-1921)


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Aside from being an architect, Frank Lloyd Wright also designed furniture. Most of the furniture that Wright made was designed for the houses he built and was consistent to the style of furniture that was being made in the Arts and Crafts period. When it came to the design of the furniture, Wright was a man of simplicity. His furniture was mostly made out of wood, and showed the most exquisite craftsmanship.

The number one thing Wright aimed for when designing something was unity. That’s exactly what he did with his furniture. He loved making his furnishings match its surroundings. He felt that when a piece of furniture was unified to the surroundings, a sense of harmony was brought about in the room. This is why whenever we look at a Frank Lloyd Wright , the furniture always matches the structural design of the house. Since most of the furniture Wright designed was made for a specific house, he had as much furniture built-in to the house as he could to insure that the furniture would always stay with Tali esin that building. Some examples of built-in furniture would be bookcases, storage drawers, Line and shelving units. -C hes 195 t of Dra 0 wer s

-Here is a chest of drawers with a mirror that was designed by Wright as well. It was built by the Heritage-Henderson Furniture Industries, who Wright worked with for a period of time. This furniture was one out of approximately 61 pieces of what was called the “Taliesin Line”, which was an ensemble named after Wright’s personally designed home in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Can be found in Wisconsin Historical Museum down in Madison.


*(With this piece of furniture, Wright put detail in the border of the mirror along with the border and legs of the chest itself. )* <<< (for the close up picture)

Here is a dining table set that was built for the Frederick C. Robie house. Right off the bat we notice the geometric style and forms. The table and chairs are all rectilinear in their form which matches with the rectilinear structure of the house itself. The chairs all have and extrahigh back with vertical wooden struts built into them. This rectilinear theme matches the rest of the structural design of the house.

Taliesin Line -1950s

Frederick C. Robie House 1950â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dining Room Set


Wax Desk and Chair (1936) S.C. Johnson Wax Company

-Wright also designed furniture for various commercial structures throughout his career. One such as the S.C. Johnson Wax Administration Building. The exterior structure of the building has many curves and circular forms as part of the design. The interior also has pillars that have circular forms at the top of each column. In order to stay faithful to Wrightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s concept of unity, he also built furniture that matched the rest of the building. In particular he builds desks and chairs that echo the curves and the circular forms of the S.C. Johnson building.


Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers (1973) Arizona Biltmore Hotel

In Wright autobiography described these “leaded glass” as “light screens.” “…diffusion of relected light for the upper story throught the ‘light screens’ that took the place of the walls and were now often the windows in long series.” Wright had been frimly grounded in the Queen Anne and Shingle styles of medieval domestic diamond-paned windows through 1886-1893. Evolving himself, Wright began to break away from that Victorian style and incorporating a lotus design froman 1886 German window pattern book, which later led him to his Prairie window style in 1895. This laid the foundation for the next 25 years of Wright’s decorative work.

Sta ine - Frank Lloyd dG Wright is not only las recondnized as America’s s greatest architect, but also

as one of the most prolific stained glass designers. Wright had worked with leaded glass between 1886 and 1923, during a time when the popularity of stained glass had reach a height not equaled since the Middle Ages. He designed over 150 houses that included his unique leaded glass in virtually every window opening. Which was approximentaly around 30 windows in a house, which roughly is over 4,000 windows. Of the 150 buildings Wright has designed that included his leaded glass work, about 90 were built. Sadly, 17 percent of Wright’s buildings have been demolished and much more decorative windows have been lost.

Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House (1919-1921)


* ClOSE UP “Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers” (1973) Arizona Biltmore Hotel

-One of the most famous of Wright’s windows would have to be the “Tree of Life” in the Martin House of 1904-1905 in Buffalo, NY. It was one of his most ambitious pieces and even though he had not intended it to be an autonomous piece, it does stand as one of Wright’s finest single designs. But standing in the Martin House, Wright had originally designed it to have an intense effect, as a whole, not just one piece, but through the multiples in a room had a more forceful resonance. He found a way to incorporate is Architectural format, Victorian style, and Prairie style together in one large piece to not only visually stimulate eyes through lines but through the natural color and light. Wright continues his concept of nature in this piece with the organic colors he uses throughout the leaded glass. Sadly, this wondrous effect Wright gave to the Martin House is difficult to see due to the fact that most of these windows have been removed. “May Basket” (1927) Liberty Magazine

“Tree of Life” 1904-1905 Martin House

-Just inside the front entry of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel is a Frank Lloyd Wright designed stained glass panel entitled Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers, a beautiful designed gift from his widow in 1973. Wright had originally created this glass geometric design as one of twelve covers commissioned by Liberty magazine in 1926-1927. Although, Wright’s designs had been rejected by the publisher because they were considered “too radical”, he made an impression in these medium that is still inspired by him to this very day.


-In 1909, the house built for Frederick Robie is one of Wright’s masterpieces of the Prairie period. This project was unique one in itself with the fact that Robie, himself, helped Wright in the creation of the living room French doors. Wright had a creative purpose with his windows, “I wanted windows without curvatures and doodads, both inside and out. I wanted all the light I could get in the house, and shaded enough by overhanging eaves… I wanted this room to be so that I could look out to the north and see down the street to neighbors, without their being able to invade my privacy.” And so he successfully accomplished this, which also gave a greater and spacious essence to the room.

Robie House (1909) French Doors


“Art for art’s sake is a philosophy of the well-fed...” -Frank Lloyd Wright Kandas Coates Andrea Skarbecki Josh Brown

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