Frank Lloyd Wright: Revolutionary Architect
Writer’s Workshop T2 8F
In the life of a revolutionary architect, the limits were his imagination, and nothing was unachievable. Even at the ripe age of 68, Frank Lloyd Wright could come up with an amazing, completely life changing piece of architecture. His ability to fabricate something out of nothing was almost unheard of, like a boys mind in a man’s body. Though he didn’t have much as a child, the change he sparked and initiated decades later has been phenomenal. Frank Lloyd Wright’s passion for using nature in architecture makes him a role-model change maker because he has completely transformed the style of modern architecture, and the correlation between it and the surrounding environment.
As a young boy born into a poor family of a preacher/musician and a teacher in Richland, Wisconsin, Wright’s early life was very nomadic and ever-changing. To support the family, his father moved from church position to another all over the country; they travelled and travelled until they settled in Madison, Wisconsin. During the summers, Wright spent his time as a teen outside in Spring Green, Wisconsin with his grandparents. Over time, he fell in love with the rolling hills and the beauty of,"The modeling of the hills, the weaving and fabric that clings to them, the look of it all in tender green or covered with snow or in full glow of summer that bursts into the glorious blaze of autumn.” as Wright said. When he graduated high school, his parents suddenly and unfortunately divorced and neither were ever heard from again after they left their son off to college. Though in time of great emotional stress, he continued on with his life while carrying a heavy heart.
Frank soon attended the University of Wisconsin and found his passion during an internship with a teacher. His leader Joseph Silsbee was a famed architect and teacher; he helped Wright learn design and then when he dropped out in 1887, Wright worked for him. After gaining a higher level of training Wright set off in search of a stronger career and life. Eventually, Frank found his soulmate, who he unfortunately lost during a tragic fire. Working through the highs and lows of life, Frank Lloyd Wright kept innovating his design and continued to show the world what architecture could be for almost 70 years and unfortunately died in 1959. Thousands have been inspired by him and his work which projected modern design into the 21st Century marvel we see today.
Tying back into the beginning of Frank Lloyd Wright’s life, many of his “architectural roots” come from his summers in Spring Green. Wright always had a connection with nature. He spent hours on end outside; Frank could see things in nature which others couldn’t. His observations in nature and links between them and a building were revolutionary for the style of Organic Architecture. This is the technique of manipulating the building to fit into the surrounding environment. At its heart, the appeal of Organic Architecture is the flow of the buildings with the natural surroundings. This causes a sense of euphoria and tranquility. The inspiration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces were layered by childhood emotions and later life beliefs. An example of organic architecture which was part of Wright’s early life is Falling Water. The use of materials such as stucco and stone truly blend the building into the surrounding scenery. Wright makes use of the jagged edges of the rocks near the river into the jagged squared of the building. He even used the trees to enclose the structure to give the viewer inside a greater sense of the outdoors, linking to his early life.
Frank Lloyd Wright used a multitude of innovative styles, such as innovating the modular building, by designing the Millard House. This was an interesting work also commonly known as La Miniatura. The walls were comprised of precast concrete and then transported to the build cite and then put together with steel bars like pins in wood. This new idea was also deemed textile-block slab construction and set some of the roots of the modular housing movement. This is a really important feature because of its significance later on, which makes Frank Lloyd Wright not only a role model, but a change maker in the world of modular design.
Another example of Wright being a role model change maker is the integration of the industrial techniques to build higher, such as cross bracing, to build outward. Wright believed that his open floor plans were an antidote for the closed-in aura of the victorian style. Thus, all his work was extremely valuable throughout the years as other architects studied and branched off of that technique and developed their own. Once again his work transformed a different area of the design world. This was a man ahead of his time, inventing novel techniques completely flip the switch on architecture of his era.
Wright had a special vibe to his work and overall life which made him so unique. Once we look past the story of his life, we can finally look towards the amazing work he did for society. His advancements in buildings and the new patterns and themes completely transformed the cityscape to become the modern-day phenomena we know. Almost 60 years after his death, he is still influencing the way architects work and think. Hand-in-hand with technological advancement, Wright’s work has inspired young architects to reach for the sky. That is why Frank Lloyd Wright is a role model change maker.
“10 Great Architectural Lessons from Frank Lloyd Wright.” Freshome.com, 3 Sept. 2012, freshome.com/2012/09/03/10-great-architectural-lessons-from-frank-lloyd-wright/.
“About Frank Lloyd Wright.” Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, franklloydwright.org/frank-lloyd-wright/.
“Frank Lloyd Wright.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 4 Jan. 2018, www.biography.com/people/frank-lloyd-wright-9537511.
“Organic Architecture.” Guggenheim, 17 Nov. 2016, www.guggenheim.org/arts-curriculum/topic/organic-architecture.