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Home Notable Architects Frank Lloyd Lincoln Wright
Frank Lloyd Lincoln Wright PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 23 October 2010 13:54

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Nationality: American
Born: June 8, 1867
Died: April 9, 1959
Masterpiece: Fallingwater
Website: www.franklloydwright.org

During his lifetime, Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as "the greatest American architect of all time".

Frank Lloyd Lincoln Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 projects, which resulted in more than 500 completed works. His work includes original and innovative examples of many different building types, including offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, and museums. Wright also often designed many of the interior elements of his buildings, such as the furniture and stained glass.
Wright authored 20 books and many articles, and was a popular lecturer in the United States and in Europe.

One of Wright's most famous private residences was built from 1934 to 1937—Fallingwater—for Mr. and Mrs. Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., at Bear Run, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. It was designed according to Wright's desire to place the occupants close to the natural surroundings, with a stream and waterfall running under part of the building. The construction is a series of cantilevered balconies and terraces, using limestone for all verticals and concrete for the horizontals. The house cost $155,000, including the architect's fee of $8,000. Kaufmann's own engineers argued that the design was not sound. They were overruled by Wright, but the contractor secretly added extra steel to the horizontal concrete elements. In 1994, Robert Silman and Associates examined the building and developed a plan to restore the structure. In the late 1990s, steel supports were added under the lowest cantilever until a detailed structural analysis could be done. In March 2002, post-tensioning of the lowest terrace was completed.

Frank Lloyd Wright was interested in site and community planning throughout his career. His commissions and theories on urban design began as early as 1900 and continued until his death. He had 41 commissions on the scale of community planning or urban design.

Though most famous as an architect, Wright was an active dealer in Japanese art, primarily ukiyo-e woodblock prints. He frequently served as both architect and art dealer to the same clients; "he designed a home, then provided the art to fill it". For a time, Wright made more from selling art than from his work as an architect.

Personal style and influences

Wright's creations took his concern with organic architecture down to the smallest details. From his largest commercial commissions to the relatively modest Usonian houses, Wright conceived virtually every detail of both the external design and the internal fixtures, including furniture, carpets, windows, doors, tables and chairs, light fittings and decorative elements. He was one of the first architects to design and supply custom-made, purpose-built furniture and fittings that functioned as integrated parts of the whole design, and he often returned to earlier commissions to redesign internal fittings. Some of the built-in furniture remains, while other restorations have included replacement pieces created using his plans. His Prairie houses use themed, coordinated design elements (often based on plant forms) that are repeated in windows, carpets and other fittings. He made innovative use of new building materials such as precast concrete blocks, glass bricks and zinc cames (instead of the traditional lead) for his leadlight windows, and he famously used Pyrex glass tubing as a major element in the Johnson Wax Headquarters. Wright was also one of the first architects to design and install custom-made electric light fittings, including some of the very first electric floor lamps, and his very early use of the then-novel spherical glass lampshade (a design previously not possible due to the physical restrictions of gas lighting).

Wright rarely credited any influences on his designs, but most architects, historians and scholars agree he had five major influences:
Louis Sullivan, whom he considered to be his 'Lieber Meister' (dear master),
Nature, particularly shapes/forms and colors/patterns of plant life,
Music (his favorite composer was Ludwig van Beethoven),
Japanese art, prints and buildings.

Recognition

Later in his life and well after his death in 1959, Wright received much honorary recognition for his lifetime achievements. He received Gold Medal awards from The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1941 and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1949. He was awarded the Franklin Institute's Frank P. Brown Medal in 1953. He received honorary degrees from several universities (including his "alma mater", the University of Wisconsin) and several nations named him as an honorary board member to their national academies of art and/or architecture. In 2000, Fallingwater was named "The Building of the 20th century" in an unscientific "Top-Ten" poll taken by members attending the AIA annual convention in Philadelphia. On that list, Wright was listed along with many of the USA's other greatest architects including Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Louis Kahn, Philip Johnson and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and he was the only architect who had more than one building on the list. The other three buildings were the Guggenheim Museum, the Frederick C. Robie House and the Johnson Wax Building.

Notable works

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Oak Park, Illinois, 1889–1909
William H. Winslow House, River Forest, Illinois, 1894
Ward Winfield Willits Residence, and Gardener’s Cottage and Stables, Highland Park, Illinois, 1901
Dana-Thomas House, Springfield, Illinois, 1902
Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo, New York, 1903–1905
Unity Temple, Oak Park, Illinois, 1904
Frederick C. Robie Residence, Chicago, Illinois, 1909
Taliesin I, Spring Green, Wisconsin, 1911
Hollyhock House (Aline Barnsdall Residence), Los Angeles, California, 1919–1921
Ennis House, Los Angeles, California, 1923
Taliesin III, Spring Green, Wisconsin, 1925
Graycliff. Buffalo, NY 1926
Fallingwater (Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr. Residence), Bear Run, Pennsylvania, 1935–1937
First Jacobs House, 1936–1937
Johnson Wax Headquarters, Racine, Wisconsin, 1936
Herbert F. Johnson Residence ("Wingspread"), Wind Point, WI, 1937
Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona, 1937
Usonian homes, various locations, 1930s–1950s
Child of the Sun, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, 1941–1958
First Unitarian Society of Madison, Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin, 1947
V. C. Morris Gift Shop, San Francisco, California, 1948
Price Tower, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 1952–1956
Beth Sholom Synagogue, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 1954
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1956–1961
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York, 1956–1959
Kentuck Knob, Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, 1956
Marshall Erdman Prefab Houses, various locations, 1956–1960
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, 1956–1961
Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, CA, 1957–1966
Gammage Auditorium, Tempe, Arizona, 1959–1964

Information is used from: www.franklloydwright.org

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