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Frank Lloyd Wright


Biography

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) is one of the most important figures in 20th century architecture in terms of his impact on society and the amount of work he completed over the course of his 70 year career.
His interpretation of the single-family home (prairie houses) and the community spirit of his work, which is oriented towards the middle class, make him the key figure in creation of a reference model for the American house, far removed from the European standards of the day.
Wright is also the key interpreter and promoter of what is known as “organic architecture”, a term deriving from the title of his famous volume published in 1939.
After studying engineering in Wisconsin, Wright started working with Adler & Sullivan, a Chicago practice (1887-1893) that was to be of key importance in his background and his study of alternatives to the classic, stereotyped forms of architecture.
It is at this time that the poetics and culture of Wright’s design took form, drawing on the transcendentalist movements of the late nineteenth century (literary, philosophic) and the “individualistic ideology of the American pioneers”.
After opening his own practice in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park in 1893, Wright began working non-stop on the issues of the house and of harmony between the natural environment and architectural space.
The result is such historic buildings as the Wright (1898), Robie (1910) and Hollyhock (1921) houses and, in his maturity, Fallingwater (1937).
His great Broadacre City project, discussed in the volume The Disappearing City (1932), is an extraordinary analytic study of an imaginary territory and landscape in which he places a variety of buildings. In the thirties, starting with Broadacre City, Wright began the studies that would lead to his “Usonian houses”, houses which “employ an abstract language of planes and volumes permitting an experience of indirect perception of the natural world around them” (J.M. Desmond).
Intended for growing middle-income families, they are relatively small houses with very practical spaces, such as Gardenwall (1934) and, above all, Jacobs I (1937).
Wright’s work had vast implications outside the United States. He lived in Tokyo for 6 years, where he built the Imperial Hotel (1923). The New York Guggenheim Museum (1959), with its shell shape and spiral staircase, exalts the continuous motion of visual perception. As early as the forties Wright’s work had established a consolidated historiographic tradition in essays and monographic volumes.

Frank Lloyd Wright selected works and projects

- Guggenheim Museum, New York, N.Y. (USA), 1959
- Fallingwater – Kaufmann House, Bear Run, Pennsylvania (USA) 1937
- Beth Sholom Synagogue, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania (USA) 1959
- Kalita Humphreys Theatre, Dallas, Texas (USA), 1959
- H. C. Price Company Tower, Bartlesville, Oklahoma (USA), 1956
- Goetsch-Winckler House, Okemos, Michigan (USA), 1940
- Wingspread – Johnson House, Racine, Wisconsin (USA) 1939
- Jacobs I - Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House, Madison, Wisconsin (USA) 1937
- Honeycomb - Hanna House, Palo Alto, California (USA), 1937
- Broadacre City Project, 1935
- Gardenwall – Willey House, Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA) 1934
- Ennis House, Los Angeles, California (USA), 1924
- Storer House, Hollywood, California (USA), 1924
- Imperial Hotel, Tokyo (Japan) 1923
- Hollyhock - Barnsdall House, Los Angeles, California (USA) 1921
- Midway Gardens, Chicago, Illinois (USA) 1914
- Robie House, Chicago, Illinois (USA), 1910
- Administrative Offices of Larkin Co., Buffalo, N.Y. (USA), 1904
- Willits House, Highland Park, Illinois (USA), 1903
- Wright House, Oak Park, Illinois (USA), 1898
- Winslow House, River Forrest, Illinois (USA), 1894

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