Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867 - 1959
Wright in March 1926
Born: 8 June 1867, Richland Center, Wisconsin
Died: 9 April 1959, Phoenix, Arizona
Born Frank Lincoln Wright, he changed his name to honor his mother's family (Lloyd Jones) after his father left and divorced in 1885. Wright attended high school at Madison, Wisconsin but didn't graduate. He was given special permission to enroll at the University of Wisconsin, pledged Phi Delta Theta, and worked closely with a professor of civil engineering, but left after two semesters. (Almost seventy years later the school granted him a Doctorate of Fine Arts in 1955.) He moved to Chicago, a city still rebuilding from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and found work as a draftsman with an architect and worked on several homes. He left to join Adler & Sullivan where he was given significant design responsibility, Louis Sullivan was the only architect Wright ever credited as an influence on his work. Wright consistently lived beyond his means, during the five years with Adler & Sullivan he built nine houses on the side, for which he was eventually fired. the period through the turn of the century was a transition, Wright building homes that were based on his earlier work, but in 1901 he developed the concept known as the Prairie House, homes that blended well with their sites. Perhaps most notable was his own home, Taliesen. In 1909, with six children by his wife Kitty, Wright left for Europe with Mameh Cheney the wife of a client, they spent over a year working on a printed portfolio of his work for a German publisher. In 1914 a servant at Taliesen locked all the doors save one, set fire to the house, and killed seven of the nine occupants with an axe, including Mameh and her two children. Wright spent several years in Japan building the Imperial Hotel at Tokyo, he subsequently was a major dealer in Japanese art in the US. Another fire, this one attributed to wiring in a new phone system, destroyed the second Taliesen in 1925. He spent some time in California building what he called Textile Block houses from large purpose-cast concrete elements and would later design a series of Usonian Houses, intended for middle-class clients. Wright wrote twenty books and numerous articles and was a popular speaker. He underwent surgery to remove an intestinal blockage at Phoenix, Arizona, five days later he suddenly died. The American Institute of Architects named him the "greatest American architect of all time" in 1991. Probably the last plans he finished before his death, originally to be built in Maryland, were executed in Ireland in 2007, his only building in Europe.
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Frank Lloyd Wright quotes:
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- A free America, democratic in the sense that our forefathers intended it to be, means just this: individual freedom for all, rich or poor, or else this system of government we call democracy is only an expedient to enslave man to the machine and make him like it. permalink
The Future of Architecture (1953)
- A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart. permalink
- A man is a fool if he drinks before he reaches the age of 50, and a fool if he doesn't afterward. permalink
- A professional is one who does his best work when he feels the least like working. permalink
- A vital difference between the professional man and a man of business is that money making to the professional man should, by virtue of his assumption, be incidental; to the business man it is primary. Money has its limitations; while it may buy quantity, there is something beyond it and that is quality. permalink
- All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable. permalink
The Living City (1958)
- An architect's most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board, and a wrecking bar at the site. permalink
- An expert is a man who has stopped thinking - he knows! permalink
- An idea is salvation by imagination. permalink
- Architecture is life, or at least it is life itself taking form and therefore it is the truest record of life as it was lived in the world yesterday, as it is lived today or ever will be lived. permalink
- Architecture is the triumph of Human Imagination over materials, methods, and men, to put man into possession of his own Earth. It is at least the geometric pattern of things, of life, of the human and social world. It is at best that magic framework of reality that we sometimes touch upon when we use the word 'order.' permalink
- Art for art's sake is a philosophy of the well-fed. permalink
- As we live and as we are, Simplicity - with a capital "S" - is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means. permalink
The Natural House (1954)
- Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun. permalink
- Bureaucrats: they are dead at 30 and buried at 60. They are like custard pies; you can't nail them to a wall. permalink
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