Architect who developed the uses of reinforced concrete: Who is Frank Lloyd Wright?

Frank Lloyd Wright, who was influential in bringing a new look to architecture at the beginning of the 20th century with more than 300 buildings he realized, put forward the principles of an architecture called "Organic Architecture", which is based on the integration of interior and exterior space based on natural forms.

By Jane Dickens Published on 16 Mayıs 2024 : 16:36.
Architect who developed the uses of reinforced concrete: Who is Frank Lloyd Wright?

He went down in history as one of the most important figures in the history of Modern Architecture by developing the areas of use of reinforced concrete.

The Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art, which he designed in New York, has proven his architectural power to the whole world.

Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most important architects of the 20th century, was born on June 8, 1867, in Wisconsin. Wright, who studied engineering, began to gain professional experience with designers such as Conover and Silsbee in his youth.

In 1888, he started working with Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler and began to be included in important projects. Wright played an important role in the construction of the Charnley House, which was built in Chicago in 1892. Wright, who learned very important lessons from Sullivan during this study, had the opportunity to closely examine the extreme individualism of writer Henri David Thoreau and the naturalism of Thomas Jefferson.

Frank Lloyd Wright Sr. (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was an American architect, designer, writer, and educator. He designed more than 1,000 structures over a creative period of 70 years. Wright played a key role in the architectural movements of the twentieth century, influencing architects worldwide through his works and mentoring hundreds of apprentices in his Taliesin Fellowship. Wright believed in designing in harmony with humanity and the environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was exemplified in Fallingwater (1935), which has been called "the best all-time work of American architecture".

Wright, who was greatly inspired by Ruskin's Arts and Crafts and Violet le Duc, was also greatly influenced by names such as Richardson, Bruce Price and McKim, Mead & White. Wright, who had difficulty adapting to the "Ecole des Beaux-Arts", that is, fine arts style, at the beginning of his works, is known as the Milwaukee Library, which reflects this period. However, he later tried to symbolize the independence of American culture by adopting a completely anti-classical and anti-European approach. The name of this style is known as “Organic Architecture”.

Unique Lines

In 1893, Wright ended his work with Sullivan and Adler and formed a partnership with Cecil Corven. Three years later, he established his own workshop in Oak Park to work completely independently. However, his work Winslow House, designed in 1894, still bears the influence of his teacher Sullivan. This work is also known as the design that bears the first signs of his unique style. The asymmetrical architectural design and the emphasis on horizontal lines are seen as clues to Wright's new line.

In 1901, he introduced his project called The Prairie Houses, which was published in the publication 'Ladies Home Journal'. Set in a greenery-like setting as an independent family home, it reflected the nobility and simplicity of North American farmhouses. Wright, who used the space only for functional designs in this design, also underlined that he is against symbolic and useless designs.

He also underlined asymmetrical lines in the Willitz House, built in Highland Park in 1902. He focused on horizontal windows in the Tomek House built in Riverside and the Buffalo House built in Buffalo in 1904. The Robie House, built in Chicago between 1907 and 1909, is the last of this series. At this time, the Larkin Building, which attracted the attention of Frank Lloyd Wright, was built in New York Buffalo in 1904 and was demolished in 1949, was abandoned. Choosing this building as his office, Wright brought it back to life with his unique style and a design reminiscent of ancient Egypt.

Wright's Discovery of Europe

In 1909, Wright left his wife and six children and went on a trip to Europe with Mrs. Cheney. Wright, who participated in exhibitions in Italy and Germany, made a name for himself with a portfolio published by Ernst Wasmuth including H P Berlage, and significantly influenced European architecture. Names that were observed to be influenced by Wright's works were the fathers of modernist design and ideas such as Walter Gropius and Mies Van Der Rohe.

Wright, who retreated to a quiet life upon his return to America, settled in Wisconsin for new work. The building he designed as a restaurant and entertainment venue called Midway Gardens in 1913 was a work in which Wright tried new techniques. However, it was demolished in 1929.

After Mrs. Cheney's death in 1914, Wright devoted himself to the design of his house and was in financial trouble. Troubled Period in Japan Wright, who undertook the construction of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo between 1915 and 1922, constructed an earthquake-resistant building together with Antonin Raymond and engineer Paul Mueller. Wright, who spent six years in Japan, also experienced his inner depressive years there. As a result of this process, significant changes were observed in Wright's architectural style.

It is observed that there are influences of the Mayan civilization in the Barnsdall House in Los Angeles, where he worked between 1917 and 1920. Also noteworthy are the lines in the courtyard of the building, which are seen for the first time in Wright's architecture. His work, also known as the Milliard House or La Miniatura, also located in California, is the first example of Wright's new invention, the 'Textile units' technique.

The Ocotillo Desert Camp, which he built in the Arizona desert in 1928, is known as a temporary structure designed to immerse himself in the desert. The synthesis of organic architecture and cubist architecture is observed in the Kaufmann House, a work where Lloyd Wright's success reached its peak. This house above a waterfall is perched on rocks. This house also reflects Wright's concept of the ideal home. Because this house, intertwined with nature, describes the ideal lifestyle. However, the works he signed after this work were in the middle of city life.

Wright, who started working in a chemical factory in 1936, created interesting architectural designs whose buildings were not connected to the outside. Wright, who built his own house in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1937, decorated this work with artificial nature. He was already prepared for this work, which has interesting architecture, with the Ocotillo desert house he had previously designed.

Fantasy Works

Wright, who designed a kind of science fiction architecture for a Planetarium building in Maryland in 1925, applied the spiral shape. He developed these spirals and designed a gallery in the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum built in New York in 1943. Visitors to the museum would climb the stairs to the top floor and walk around the spiral to go down. The construction of this building was quite an event. He also signed the St. Marks Tower in New York, the National Insurance Company's building in Chicago, and the Beth Shalom Synagogue in Pennsylvania.

Excited by the success of atomic energy in 1956, Wright designed elevators and staircases powered by atomic energy in the project of a 528-story skyscraper that could accommodate 130,000 people in Chicago, Illinois.

Frank Lloyd Wright, who had a business life of 60 years, created a wide variety of designs and ideas. Wright, who managed to renew himself without stopping, explained this by saying that the individual must constantly review his relationship with his environment and update himself.

Wright's Impact

Although Wright did not have students around him due to his individual working style, he had a great impact on many movements; It inspired various architectural movements, from Expressionism to Rationalism, from the Amsterdam School to De Stijl. The fact that Wright, who designed many works, also attended many conferences, is the most important reason why he is known and referenced worldwide. In addition, the fact that he published most of his works and expressed his ideas in various books was of great importance in Wright's being considered among the most important architects of all time by all authorities in the world.

Frank Lloyd Wright died in Arizona on April 9, 1959, at the age of 92.


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