BIOGRAPHY FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT – American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright is a pioneer of contemporary architecture. Originator of the Prairie House movement, he is known for his House on the Waterfall and for the design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Short biography of Frank Lloyd Wright – Born in the Midwestern United States, the young Frank Lloyd Wright arrived in Chicago in 1887. In search of a job, he began to work as an industrial designer in several architectural firms. The second he joined was led by Dankmar Adler (1844-1900) and Louis Sullivan (1856-1924), two emblematic figures of the architectural movement of the School of Chicago. They became a source of inspiration for Wright who worked with them for six years and began to design his first homes. He marries his first wife Catherine Lee Tobin in 1889. Frank Lloyd Wright started his own business in 1893. Influenced by Japanese architecture, he was one of the main initiators of movement Meadow. He thinks in particular that a house must be able to integrate into the landscape without distorting it. In this style, he made famous constructions such as the Robie house (1909) or the Cascade House (1939).
In 1909, Frank Lloyd Wright left wife and children to discover Europe, before returning to Wisconsin in 1911. The following years were particularly difficult financially for him. He divorced in 1922 and married Maude “Miriam” Noel. He separated from her in 1927 and remarried in 1928 with Olgivanna Lazović. In parallel, Wright supervises the construction of theTokyo Imperial Hotel from 1918 to 1923. The construction of the Maison sur la cascade in 1939 brought him back to popularity and revived his career. At the end of his life, the architect was at the head of a recognized agency which carried out numerous projects. He died in 1959 at the age of 91. His last great achievement, the New York Guggenheim Museum, was inaugurated in October 1959, about six months after his death. He has made several hundred different constructions in his 70-year career. Frank Lloyd Wright is still considered today as theone of the most influential American architects in history.
Begun in 1935 and completed in 1939, La Maison sur la cascade or Fallingwater is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most important creations. Even before it was completely finished, Time magazine already considered it in 1938 as “Wright’s finest work“. It is located in Stewart Township, Pennsylvania. The total area including decks and guesthouse is approximately 600 square meters. This house was commissioned by a notable from Pittsburgh, Edgar Kaufmann, who is a longtime client of the architect. Kaufmann initially wanted Wright to build him a home surrounded by nature with a view of the waterfall, which he would later use as a second home. Finally, the architect decides to build the house above the waterfall. This building is characteristic of the style Meadow andorganic architecture de Wright: a house with horizontal lines that blends perfectly into the forest setting (here, the Bear Run Nature Reserve). Particular attention is given to the interior of the house, which is entirely open-plan and has multiple bay windows. Nothing is left to chance, whether it is the choice of colors, materials or the arrangement of the terraces. Even the furniture is designed by the architect. The House on the Waterfall corresponds to Wright’s idea of a complementarity and a harmony between nature and humanity, as shown by the sound of a waterfall, noticeable no matter what room you are in. From 1964, the house became a Museum public. It is registered with Unesco World Heritage since 2008.
Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the most prolific architects of his generation, with nearly 800 plans and sketches of projects, more than 300 of which have been completed. Among the most notable, theTokyo Imperial Hotel was completed in 1923. The building was designed to withstand frequent earthquakes on the Japanese archipelago. The year of its inauguration, the building was barely shaken by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, giving Wright a certain media visibility. He also drew up the plans for the New York Guggenheim Museum of Art which was inaugurated a few months after the architect’s death in 1959. Frank Lloyd Wright was entrusted with the construction of several religious buildings in the United States. For example those of the Unitarian Church of Oak Park (1904-1906), the Beth Sholom Synagogue (1954-1959), and finally the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation (1956-1961).
The architect acquired his fame thanks to his dwellings of the Meadow, of which he is one of the main representatives. The Winslow house (1893) is the first to lay the foundations for what Wright calls “organic architecture“. We can find a similar inspiration in the Robie house (1909). But also in the personal achievements of the architect: Taliesin East (1911) and Taliesin West (1937), respectively Wright’s summer villa (Wisconsin) and winter residence (Arizona). We can also feel in some of its attraction for Japanese architecture as in the William and Jessie M. Adams House (1901), or again for the Mayan civilization with the Ennis House (1924). In the 1930s, he built a hundred minimalist houses called “UsonianBuilt on a concrete slab rather than a foundation, they are designed to be affordable for the entire American population. Finally, many of Wright’s urban projects could not be put into practice. Among them, the Broadacre city, a decentralized utopian city where each household has a substantial piece of land to meet its needs. Or The Illinois, a gigantic skyscraper over 1,700 meters high.
- June 8, 1867: Birth of Frank Lloyd Wright
- Frank Wright was born on June 8, 1867 in the town of Richland Center, located in the state of Wisconsin. He is the son of William Carey Wright and Anna Lloyd Jones. The eldest of three siblings, he has two sisters: Mary Jane Wright Porter and Maginel Wright Enright. The latter is known for her work as an illustrator of children’s books. Frank Wright decides to bear the name Lloyd in homage to his mother following the divorce of his parents. His uncle Jenkin Lloyd Jones is an important figure in Unitarian universalism, a denomination of faith that gained momentum during this period in Illinois.
- March 3, 1983: Death of Frank Lloyd Wright
- Frank Lloyd Wright died on March 3, 1983 in the state of Arizona in Phoenix following a surgical complication. He leaves behind many descendants. He had six children with his first wife Catherine Lee Tobin. Two of them, Lloyd Wright Jr. and John Lloyd Wright follow in their father’s footsteps and become architects. He has a daughter, Iovanna Lloyd Wright, with his last wife Olgivanna Lazović Wright. The latter chairs the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.