Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the greatest architect that America ever had. He was not only an architect but also a writer and an interior designer having more than 1200 designs under his name. Most of his designs were eco-friendly i.e. harmless to environment. This philosophy of his was known as organic architecture. He had an American style in his designs; mostly urban, modern and innovative. Due to his few writings he was also a very popular lecturer in US .
Frank Lloyd was early named as Frank Lincoln Wright. He was born in Wisconsin, US in 1867.His father was an orator, preacher and a musician while his mother was a school teacher. Later his parents got divorced and Wright moved with his mother and so had his mother’s family name Lloyd. Frank never actually completed his schooling but was honoured with doctorate of Fine Arts from University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Later he went to Chicago in search of work where he was hired by Joseph Lyman Silsbee. Along with this he also worked on some projects concerning his few aunts an uncle. Even less than a year he worked at Silsbee’s office, he got the news of Alder and Sullivan’s search of an aspirant for some interior work at their new project of an auditorium.
During his period of work of 5 years for Sullivan, he got married to Catherine Tobin and had a house in Oak Park in Chicago where he lived with his wife and 6 children. Most of the time Wright had to face a lot of financial problems due to his lifestyle which further led him to start his own architectural practices. This was considered as violence of contract by Sullivan so he was eventually removed from that firm. After leaving Sullivan in 1893,he started his own firm in Chicago.
Career & Work
Wright was recognized for his organic way of architecture. One of his greatest work as an architect was “Prairie School” which has buildings of about 50 in Oak Park .This gave him fame and a great appreciation by many leading firms. His Prairie style houses were mostly residential having low single storey building and sloping roofs along with long windows and terraces designed with easily available materials and some of the scrap ones were also into use. His designs represented new American lifestyle of living which was totally organic and unique yet simple.
His work including Unity Temple in Oak Park and Robie House in Chicago showed some fine art of his work making him immensely popular. In 1909,Wright shifted to Europe along with a women named Mamah Cheney leaving his own family behind. There, after struggling for few years in search of good work, it was in 1911 when he got recognition for his earlier work after his portfolio being published by Ernst. Wasmuth famously known as “Wasmuth Portfolio”.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s one of the most acclaimed work of life included his house made in the land bought in Spring Green, Wisconsin US in 1911 which was near to the land of his mother’s family. His house was named Taliesin after a great poet. However in 1914,one of his servant set fire to Taliesen and killed 7 people including Wright’s wife Cheney for which he got arrested and was put into prison where he died after few months.
Many years later in 1937 he started an architectural school at Taliesin where young fellow were taught the different aspects of architecture. This was known as “Taliesin West” which was the winter home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright in Arizona.
In 1935,Frank L. Wright gave the best example of his organic architecture in form of “Fallingwater” which was a vacation residence for the family of E.J.Kaufmann situated at Mill Run, Pennsylvania lying near to Pittsburgh. It is a home which was constructed over a waterfall which gave a fine view of the landscapes in the surrounding.
The construction consist horizontal and vertical lines which made this design more innovative and strong. It had low Ceilings, stone walls and floors along with many windows,balconies and terraces with sliding glass panes giving a natural view to the house and the sound of the running water echoing the whole house. Years later the house became open to public as a museum. This masterpiece of Frank L. Wright was one of the finest and beautiful piece of architecture and it also featured in the list of The America’s Favourite Architecture.
In the late 1930s,Wright designed residencies for the middle class community such that it was easily affordable by them. These were known as “Usonian” houses. They had an elegant style of design having flat roofs, small rooms, small kitchen attached to the dining area, they did not have garage, basement or any other much open spaces making it the most practical design constructed by any American Architect . Its design featured solar heating and natural cooling and many others features including automobile storage making it a low cost and live in houses. He had about 60 Usonian houses built .
In 1939, he built the administration headquarters for S.C.Jhonson and Sons in Racine, Wisconsin which was known as “Jhonson Wax Headquarters”. He totally embraced glass in this design specially the Pyrex glass which gave an out view of nature to the design and so did it justified his philosophy of organic architecture.
In his last years, he designed the “Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum” situated at the Fifth Avenue in New York City which took 16 years to complete (1943-1959). It was one of the finest work by Wright. It is an art museum having cylindrical design coiling towards upwards consisting modern art pieces arranged in a unique ramp of continuous spiral edges to building.
Awards and Recognition
• Wright received Royal Gold Medal for architecture from king George VI in 1941.
• Gold medal from AIA(American Institute of Architects) in 1949.
• Italian Star of Solidarity in 1951.
Frank Lloyd Wright died on 9th April,1959 at the age of 89 years due to intestinal obstruction in Phoenix, Arizona.he was one of the most innovative and genius architects of 20th century.his carrer lasted for almost 70 years. He had a global impact on modern architecture by his influencing designs styles.