Frank Lloyd Wright was not only considered one of the world’s greatest contemporary architects, but was also one of the most prolific and controversial public figures of his time. He was a writer, art collector, philosopher and visionary, all of which combined to inspire his craft. An outdoorsy child, Wright fell deeply in love with the Wisconsin landscape he explored as a boy. “The modeling of the hills, the weaving and fabric that clings to them, the look of it all in tender green or covered with snow or in full glow of summer that bursts into the glorious blaze of autumn,” he later reminisced.
Widely known for four distinct architectural styles, his work stemmed from his belief that buildings should be made from the land, and benefit the land.
- Prairie: born out of his belief that we needed fewer, larger rooms that flowed more easily and incorporated low pitched roofs, overhanging eaves, a central chimney, and open floor plans which, he believed, was the antidote to the confined, closed-in look of the Victorian era.
- Textile: these took on a more linear approach, combined with influences from Mayan architecture.
- Organic: this drew from natural resources, combined with the influence of Japanese architecture.
- Usonian: smaller than his sprawling Prairie style residences, these contained little ornamentation and lacked basements or attics. These houses were set up into zones, typically with three areas: living space, small bedrooms, and a kitchen-dining area. Built-in components and furniture allowed homeowners to appreciate the simpler, integrated space Wright intended.
Frank Lloyd Wright was clearly a man ahead of his time. The design of many of his homes once seemed light-years ahead of their time, and people often had trouble understanding his vision, yet almost all of our modern home design and custom home building construction puts to use the ideals he thought so important.
The works of Frank Lloyd Wright are unique. No two homes or buildings look alike. He built according to his vision of what the future would be. He saw the need for homes to be more fluid, more open, more live-able, and less restrained. His architecture both documented a time in history and yet managed to push the envelope with his modern philosophical approach to the future of building.
Wright stood for clean lines and simplicity. He believed that a well-built building complemented its environment and surrounding. He disliked the intricate detail and fussiness of the architectural styles that preceded him. His ideals, words and foresight continue to be used as inspiration for modern home design and custom home builders. The echoes of his style are evident in many of the contemporary homes we see designed today.