Frank Lloyd Wright was born just two years after the end of the Civil War, on June 8, 1867 in the United States in the small town of Richland Center, Wisconsin.
Between 1885 until 1887, he studied mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin but eventually dropped out to go and work for Chicago architects Joseph Lyman Silsbee. In 1887 Wright left that job to go and work for Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan. In 1893, Wright established his first practice.
In architectural terms, Wright was the famous pioneer of the so-called ‘Prairie School’ movement of architecture. Throughout his career, Wright designed original and innovative offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, museums, and other structures. He often designed interior elements for these buildings, as well, including furniture and even stained glass.
Wright also wrote 20 books and hundreds of articles and was a popular lecturer in the United States and Europe. In 1991, Wright was recognised by the American Institute of Architects as "the greatest American architect of all time."
Wright’s philosophy of "organic architecture," says that a building should develop out of its natural surroundings. His designs for both private and public structures were original, and as an avant-garde designer, he rebelled against classic architecture and its traditional ornamentation. Wright also initiated many new building techniques such as the use of precast concrete blocks reinforced by steel rods and radiant floor heating.
In 1887, Wright was hired as a draftsman with the architectural firm of Joseph Lyman Silsbee, with who he previously collaborated with Silsbee on the 1886 Unity Chapel.
Although Silsbee adhered mainly to Victorian and Revivalist architecture, Wright said of his work to be more "gracefully picturesque" than the other styles of the period.
Wright then hired by the Chicago firm of Adler & Sullivan which was looking for someone to make the finished drawings for the interior of the Auditorium Building.
Wright's home in Oak Park, Illinois (1889)
On June 1, 1889, Wright married his first of three wives, Catherine Lee "Kitty" Tobin (1871–1959) and with a $5,000 loan, Wright purchased a lot in the suburb of Oak Park. The existing Gothic Revival house was given to his mother, while a compact shingle style house was built alongside for Wright and his new wife Catherine.
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S HOUSES (1893–1900)
1. Winlsow House
After leaving Louis Sullivan's firm, Wright established his own practice and Wright's projects during this period followed two basic models. His first independent commission, the Winslow House, combined ornamentation with the emphasis on simple geometry and horizontal lines.
William H. Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois (1893)
The Francis Apartments (1895), Heller House (1896), Rollin Furbeck House (1897) and Husser House (1899) were designed in the same mode. Wright also designed more traditional dwellings including the Dutch Colonial Revival style Bagley House (1894), Tudor Revival style Moore House I (1895), and Queen Anne style Charles E. Roberts House (1896).
By 1901, Wright had completed about 50 projects, including many residential houses in Chicago.
2. Arthur Heurtley House
Arthur Heurtley House, Oak Park, Illinois (1902)
3. ROBIE HOUSE
Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo, New York (1904)
4. MARTIN HOUSE
Hillside Home School, Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin (1902)
5. PRAIRIE-STYLE HOUSE
Wright's residential designs of this era became known as a "prairie house”: One or two-stories with one-story projections, an open floor plan, low-pitched roofs with broad, overhanging eaves, strong horizontal lines, ribbons of windows (often casements), a prominent central chimney and ample use of stone and wood.
Between 1900 and 1901, Wright completed four houses which have since been named as being in the "Prairie style". The Hickox and Bradley Houses, were the last transitional step between Wright's early designs and the Prairie creations, while other Wright houses considered to be masterpieces of the ‘Prairie Style’ are the Frederick Robie House in Chicago and the Avery and Queene Coonley House in Riverside, Illinois.
By 1909, Wright had begun to reject the upper-middle-class Prairie Style single-family house model, shifting his focus to a what he called a more ‘democratic’ style of architecture.
FRANK LLYOD WRIGHT’S PUBLIC WORKS (1900–1949)
- 1900–03 – Quadruple Block Plan, 24 homes in Oak Park, Illinois
- 1909 – Como Orchard Summer Colony, town site development for new town in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana
- 1913 – Chicago Land Development competition, suburban Chicago quarter section
- 1934–59 – Broadacre City, theoretical decentralized city plan, exhibits of large-scale model
- 1938 – Suntop Homes, also known as Cloverleaf Quadruple Housing Project – commission from Federal Works Agency, Division of Defence Housing, a low-cost multifamily housing alternative to the new style of suburban development
- 1942 – Cooperative Homesteads, commissioned by a group of auto workers, teachers and other professionals, 160-acre farm co-op was to be the pioneer of rammed earth and earth berm construction
- 1945 – Usonia Homes in Pleasantville, New York
- 1949 – The Acres, also known as Galesburg Country Homes in Charleston Township, Michigan
- 1949 – Parkwyn neighborhood, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, developed by Wright containing mostly Usonian homes on circular lots with common spaces in between.
Wright designed the house of Cornell's chapter of Alpha Delta Phi literary society (1900), the Hillside Home School in Spring Green, Wisconsin (1902) and the Unity Temple (1905) in Oak Park, Illinois. Wright later said that Unity Temple was the edifice in which he ceased to be an ‘architect of structure’, and became an ‘architect of space’.
Other early notable public buildings include the Larkin Administration Building (1905) as well as the Geneva Inn (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, 1911), the Midway Gardens (Chicago, Illinois, 1913), the Banff National Park Pavilion (Alberta, Canada, 1914), and the Imperial Hotel (Tokyo, 1922).
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City (1959)
6. FALLINGWATER HOUSE
Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania (1937)
Fallingwater, one of Wright's most famous private residences (completed 1937), was constructed over a 10m waterfall.
Taliesin West, Wright's winter home and studio complex in Scottsdale, Arizona, was a laboratory for Wright from 1937 to his death in 1959.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City occupied Wright for 16 years between 1943–1959 and was undoubtedly his masterpiece. The building has an interior that is similar to the inside of a seashell, and this unique central geometry was allowed visitors to easily experience Guggenheim's collection of non-objective geometric paintings by taking an elevator to the top level and then viewing artworks by walking down the slowly descending, central spiral ramp, the floor of which is embedded with circular shapes and triangular light fixtures to complement the unique geometric nature of the structure.
Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma (1956)
The only skyscraper designed by Wright is the Price Tower, a 19-story tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It is also one of the two existing vertically oriented Wright structures (the other is the S.C. Johnson Wax Research Tower in Racine, Wisconsin).
Monona Terrace designed in 1937 as municipal offices for Madison, Wisconsin, was not completed until 1997 on the original site, using a variation of Wright's final design for the exterior.
Florida Southern College, located in Lakeland, Florida, and was constructed between 1941 and 1958 as part of the Child of the Sun project. It is the world's largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.
Away from architecture, Wright’s colourful and at times controversial personal life made headlines: leaving his first wife, Catherine Lee "Kitty" Tobin, and their children for Mamah Borthwick Cheney, the murders by an employee at his Taliesin estate in 1914, his rocky marriage to second wife Miriam Noel, and his relationship with a Montenegrin dancer named Olga (Olgivanna) Lazovich Hinzenburg, who became his third wife in 1928.
On April 9, 1959, Wright died. At the time of his death, Wright designed over 400 built structures, of which nearly 300 still survive to this day. He was survived at the time by his third wife Olga and a number of children from his three marriages.
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S CHILDREN
- Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr., known as Lloyd Wright (1890-1978), became a notable architect in Los Angeles.
- John Lloyd Wright (1892-1972), invented Lincoln Logs in 1918, and practiced architecture extensively in the San Diego area.
- Catherine Wright Baxter (1894-1979) was the mother of Oscar-winning actress Anne Baxter.
- David Samuel Wright (1895-1997) was a building-products representative for whom Wright designed the David & Gladys Wright House, which was rescued from demolition and given to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.
- Frances Wright Caroe (1898-1959) was an arts administrator.
- Robert Llwellyn Wright (1903-1986) was an attorney for whom Wright designed a house in Bethesda, Maryland.
- Svetlana Peters (1917-1946) was a musician who died in an automobile accident with her son Daniel.
- Iovanna Lloyd Wright (1925-2015) was an artist and musician.
7. COOPER HOUSE
1890 –The Henry N. Cooper House and Stable, La Grange IL. Designed while Wright worked for Adler and Sullivan. Unbuilt.
1892 - The James A. Charnley House, aka the Charnley-Persky House, 1365 North Astor Street, Chicago IL. Designed while Wright was working for Adler and Sullivan. Commissioned 1891.
1892 - The W. Irving Clark House, 211 South La Grange Road, La Grange IL.Designed with E. Hill Turnock.
8. CLARK HOUSE
1892 - The W. Irving Clark House, 211 South La Grange Road, La Grange IL.Designed with E. Hill Turnock. Sold in 1999.
9. ROLOSON HOUSE
1894 - Four Houses for Robert W. Roloson, 3213-19 South Calumet,Chicago IL. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and designated a Chicago Landmark in 1979.
10. SMITH HOUSE
1896 - The George W. Smith House, 404 South Home Avenue, Oak Park IL. Commissioned 1895.
1901 -The F. B. Henderson House, 301 South Kenilworth Avenue, Elmhurst IL.
11. BROWN HOUSE
1905 - The Charles A. Brown House, 2420 Harrison Street.
12. HOLLYHOCK HOUSES
1909 - The Robert Mueller House, 1 Millikin Place, Decatur IL.
13. FLANK LLOYD WRIGHT HOUSE
1911 - The Frank Lloyd Wright House, aka the Goethe Street House, Goethe Street, Chicago IL.
14. BOTT HOUSE
1963 - The Frank Bott House, 3640 NW Briarcliff, Kansas City MO. Commissioned 1959.
15. USONIAN HOUSE
1963 - The Frank Bott House, 3640 NW Briarcliff, Kansas City MO. Commissioned 1959.
Pictures and information: https://www.usmodernist.org/
Information taken from Wikipedia & biography.com