Century Genius Award: Frank Lloyd Wright
Even though Frank was eased in a comfortable setting, his home life was anything but warm.
His father kept moving the family from job to job across the United States. His father was constantly in financial trouble and would eventually move his family back to Wisconsin. Eventually his parents would divorce, while Frank was still young. After his parents divorced, Frank changed his middle name to Lloyd, which was his mother’s middle name. Franks mother decided that he was going to be a great architect. To help spark his interest in architecture, his mother bought him Freebie’s geometric blocks to entertain and educate her son.Not only did it spark an interest in Frank, but it nurtured the natural talent that he possessed for design.
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Allowing Frank to use his imagination, Anna gave him a room filled with everything a young architect would need to build great designs: paper, paste, pencils, cardboard, etc. Young Frank was seen as a dreamy and sensitive child, and while working on the farm with his uncles, he tried to run away many times. This behavior seemed to follow him all through his life. In 1 884, Frank entered the University of Wisconsin.Because the school did not offer any courses in architecture, Frank enrolled in civil engineering. While at school, he worked part-time with Allen Conniver, a local builder and professor of civil engineering. After only two years at the university, he left school and went to Chicago where he became a designer for the firm of Adler and Sullivan with a pay of twenty-five dollars a week.
Frank worked his way up through the company to become chief assistant to Louis Sullivan. While working at Adler and Sullivan, Wright also designed houses for clients on the side.This moonlighting displeased Louis Sullivan so Frank left the firm in 1893 to begin his own design firm in Chicago. Frank was not short on clients during his beginning years. In the first ten years of his solo career, Frank designed over 1 35 buildings. Patience, concentration, attention to detail, and many revisions became the standard of Franks work. However, because of his meticulous nature, Franks clients could never make any suggestions or interfere with his designs.
Frank took an integral approach to architecture by designing the interior furnishings of the building as well as the structure.He seemed to possess a skill of site memorization. Sometimes Frank would visit the grounds only once fore designing a building that blended with and complimented the site. This natural ability became an era for Frank and Was labeled the Prairie style. This style of design dominated his work from 1900-1913. The Prairie style was marked by horizontal lines and was one of the first designs to use an open plan approach which is still in existence today. Frank designed many buildings with new techniques for his time.
For instance, he used precepts concrete blocks reinforced by steel rods.He also introduced numerous innovations including air conditioning, indirect lighting, ND panel heating. The Larkin Building in Buffalo, New York, which he designed in 1 904, was the first office building to use air conditioning double- glass windows, all-glass doors, and metal furniture. In 1 909, Frank left the United States to live in Europe leaving behind a comfortable home life including a wife, six children and a well-established business. His journey abroad, however, proved to be a successful business move. Franks designs were better received in Europe than they had been in the United States.Frank returned to the United States in 1 910 and settled jack down in the Chicago and Wisconsin area, where he started to build his second home called the Totalities.
In 1 914, during the completion of the Totalities, a male worker murdered seven people including his mistress, her two children, a gardener, a draftsman, a workman, and the workman’s son. The male worker then set fire to the Totalities-house. Once completed, however, Frank lived for most of his remaining life in this house and Often experimented with the design to improve continually on his style of architecture.In 1 922, Frank traveled to Japan where he worked on the Imperial Hotel Project. This project caused many engineering and architectural issues. When Frank completed the Imperial Hotel, many people criticized his design of a “floating foundation However, these critics changed their minds when in 1923 an earthquake hit Japan. While many other buildings lay in ruins, the Imperial Hotel stood firm.
Over the next few years, Frank moved back to the United States and rebuilt his career as a residential home architect. During this period, Frank continued to push the boundaries of designs.He began building houses made with a new material called “textile blocks”, or cinder blocks. As Frank continued to design, he not only designed the outside building, but worked on the interior as well. He designed everything from furniture to doors and was one of the first architects to incorporate custom-made light fixtures into his designs. (http://en. Wisped.
Org/wick/Frank_Lloyd_Wright) Many people believed that Frank Lloyd Wright had peaked in the 1 ass’s with the design of the Prairie houses while others believed that he was just starting to bloom in the sass’s.Either way, Frank Lloyd Wright was on the road to becoming one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century. Frank decided he needed a change so in 1 932, he sat down and wrote his autobiography. This book caused renewed interest in Franks work and he once again became a highly sought after architect. During this period of his life, Frank designed two of his famous buildings: Billingsgate, in Bear Run, Pennsylvania, and the administration building for Johnson Wax Company in Racine, Wisconsin. In the sass’s, Frank Lloyd Wright created his last architectural style called the Suasion.The Suasion style home was simple in design.
It was made of concrete floors, natural wood walls, brick masonry risers and fireplaces. Frank provided many different styles of this home to help each one to fit into its own environment. By bringing this type of style to the average American family, Frank believed that the American family wanted to be brought back to a more informal and comfortable life. Frank continued to produce work into the asses and 1 sass including houses, churches, theaters, and stores. One of his greatest works was The Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, New York.This building is considered one of his last great works. Unfortunately, Frank never got to see the opening n the Guggenheim Museum.
On April 4, 1 959, six months before the museum was to open, Frank Lloyd Wright died. His body was buried next to his mother in Spring Green, WI. In conclusion, Frank Lloyd Wright was a man ahead of his time. His vision and ingenuity for architecture was brilliant and continues to inspire our generation today. Frank Lloyd Wright is truly a legend and genius of architecture style and that is why he is considered a genius of the 20th Century. References: (2006). Frank Lloyd Wright Commission.