Frank Lloyd Wright was born in 1867 and is self proclaimed exposed to architecture in great detail from a very young age. In the span of 70 years Wright completed over 1,000 structural designs, approx. 500 being built. Along with a quite extensive personal life, Wright never failed to complete a new aspect of architecture to show the world.
Wright attended school to become an architect at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He worked closely with a professor of civil engineering and was accredited with draftsmanship and construction supervision. Moving to Chicago after the great fire in 1871 along with many others during a population boom, Wright knew he could find employment. He begin work under Joseph Silsbee, where he felt underpaid, shortly after leaving Wright joined the firm 'Beers, Clay and Dutton.' Wright soon realized he was out of his league here and returned to Silsbee with a raise. Following Wrights stent with Silsbee he began work at the firm 'Alder and Sullivan,' where he contributed to many works before starting his own firm after 5 years.
Wright was influenced by many different things. Music was one, his favorite composer being Beethoven, I think his work Falling water best represents the classical and continuous sound of Beethoven. Nature was another huge influence for Wright, this is seen in almost every building Frank Wright has even touched. Many of his designs center around nature and the integration of the building with the landscape. Japanese art, prints and buildings influenced Wright, the wide, long overhanging roofs Wright incorporates in many of his deigns remind me of traditional Japanese buildings.
In 1934 Wright married and built a home in Oak Park, Illinois. They had 6 kids together before a messy divorce. The Oak Park house was one of the first projects he lead. Falling Water was considered to be the first of Wrights incredible projects. Falling Water is the perfect example of how Wright strived to link art and nature. This project won many awards and was used as a vacation
home in Pennsylvania before being donated an opened as a museum. The home was originally quoted at $35,000 and finished at $155,000 - equivalent to $2.9 million today. Validating Wright's claim to be the 'Greatest American Architect' Falling water was the first of many works in his career to earn him many awards.
The Frederick C Robie House is a well know example of an architectural concept thought of by Wright called the Prairie house style. Without knowing, Wright created this style by designing this home to blend with the surrounding landscape of the mid-west. Designed early in his career, Wright completed this home in 1910. The home was shortly occupied by Robie and his family before the death of his father, who left him a surprising $1 million ($27 million today) gambling debt behind. The University of Chicago purchases the building after Robie was forced to sell. The Prairie house style became famous for the use of horizontal lines. Robie provided a healthy budget to allow for steel beams to be used to create these seamless lines, allowing Wright to create this style.
Frank Lloyd Wright's first major work in 1893 was commissioned by William H. Winslow. Looking back Wright describes the home as the 'first prairie house' utilizing ornamental brick work and a low wide roof with large overhangs. Many have never had the opportunity to see the interior of this home as it has been privately owned much of its life. In 2013 it was placed on the housing market for the first time in 50 years. More than a century after being built the basic brick work produced with excellent craftsmanship remains much of the same. It is one the the few buildings that photographs to look much smaller than it appears in person.
Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most accredited architects in the 1990's. He has set a precedent that is still followed, still taught in schools, and still admired. His integration of building and landscapes created a movement that has changed the course of architecture forever. Armed with a variety of influences there is a little something for everyone in all of his designs.