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“Frank Lloyd Wright changed the way we build and the way we live”
Wright came onto the scene at a time when the United States was struggling to define its architectural identity.
Most fashionable Americans still wanted their buildings—like themselves—dressed in European styles. To Wright, who believed that architecture was “the mother of all the arts,” this was unacceptable. Wright loved his country—its landscape, its people, its democratic ideals—and felt that the country desperately needed an architecture to reflect and celebrate its unique character: a truly American architecture. Wright would remain passionately devoted to this cause throughout his life.
Long before our modern emphasis on constant communication, Wright recognized that structure and space could themselves be powerful tools with which to create and convey cultural values. As such, he created dramatic new forms to promote his vision of America; a country of citizens harmoniously connected, both to one another and to the land. The primacy that his residential architecture gave to the hearth, the dining table, the music rooms, and the terrace, underscores this. His celebration of the human scale, his emphasis on creating a total environment, and the warmth that pervades all of Wright’s spaces, from the monumental to the miniscule, would warrant him a seat at any contemporary discussion panel on ‘placemaking.’ Furthermore, his approach to creating an architecture that appeared naturally linked to its surroundings, both in form and material, presaged many of today’s sustainability concerns. While American society may have changed markedly since the early 1900s, the underlying beliefs that Wright worked to uphold remain remarkably pertinent.
Andrew Lloyd Wright designed more than 1,000 structures, 532 of which were completed. Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was best exemplified by Fallingwater (1935), which has been called “the best all-time work of American architecture”.
In addition to his houses, 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 stained glass. Wright wrote 20 books and many articles and was a popular lecturer in the United States and in Europe.
Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time”.
“We are all here to develop a life more beautiful, more concordant, more fully expressive of our own sense of pride and joy than ever before in the world.”