A Wright Perspective

A Wright Perspective Photography by Cintabra ©
Born just two years after the end of the American Civil War, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was witness to the extraordinary changes that swept the world from the leisurely pace of the nineteenth-century horse and carriage to the remarkable speed of the twentieth-century rocket ship.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, who accepted such changes with reluctance, Wright welcomed and embraced the social and technological changes made possible by the Industrial Revolution and enthusiastically initiated his own architectural revolution. Inspired by the democratic spirit of America and the opportunities it afforded, he set out to design buildings worthy of such a democracy. Dismissing the masquerade of imported, historic European styles most Americans favored, his goal was to create an architecture that addressed the individual physical, social, and spiritual needs of the modern American citizen.During the later 1920s and 1930s Wright's Organic style had fully matured with the design of Graycliff, Fallingwater and Taliesin West.
 

Graycliff, located just south of Buffalo, NY is an important mid-career (1926–1931) design by Wright; it is a summer estate designed for his long-time patrons, Isabelle and Darwin D. Martin.

Created in Wright's high Organic style, Wright wrote in a letter to the Martins that "Coming in the house would be something like putting on your hat and going outdoors."  Graycliff consists of three buildings set within 8.4 acres of landscape, also designed by Wright. Its site, high on a bluff overlooking Lake Erie, inspired Wright to create a home that was transparent, with views through the building to the lake beyond. Terraces and cantilevered balconies also encourage lake views, and water features throughout the landscape were designed by Wright to echo the lake as well.

 

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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.

Taliesin West, Wright's winter home and studio complex in Scottsdale, AZ, was a laboratory for Wright from 1937 to his death in 1959. Now the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and archives, it continues today as the site of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Wright is responsible for a series of concepts of suburban development united under the term Broadacre City ~ the antithesis of a city and the apotheosis of the newly born suburbia, shaped through Wright's particular vision. It was both a planning statement and a socio-political scheme by which each U.S. family would be given a one acre (4,000 m²) plot of land from the federal lands reserves, and a Wright-conceived community would be built anew from this.

He proposed the idea in his book The Disappearing City in 1932, and unveiled a 12-square-foot (1.1 m2) model of this community of the future, showing it in several venues in the following years. He continued developing the idea until his death.

 

"What is architecture anyway? Is it the vast collection of the various buildings which have been built to please the varying tastes of the various lords of mankind? I think not. No, I know that 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…So, architecture I know to be a Great Spirit. "

 
— Frank Lloyd Wright
 
Wright’s anchor and muse was Nature, which he spelled with a capital “N.” This was not the outward aspect of nature, but the omnipresent spiritual dimension. He wrote: 
 
Using this word Nature…I do not of course mean that outward aspect which strikes the eye as a visual image of a scene strikes the ground glass of a camera, but that inner harmony which penetrates the outward form…and is its determining character; that quality in the thing that is its significance and it’s Life for us,–what Plato called (with reason, we see, psychological if not metaphysical) the “eternal idea of the thing." 
 

FLW

Here FLW is 18, to see Frank Lloyd Wright through time in portrait form, click here.









 

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Frank Lloyd Wright 1957 Interview
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