To name Frank Lloyd Wright is to speak of a true visionary who created more than a thousand structures and authored 20 books dedicated to his great passion, organic architecture. As he said, we should put a capital N on Nature and go there: everything should spring from it and end with it, giving forth buildings that are integrated to their environment, as well as synergic, fluid interiors.
Wright is considered a pioneer in the use of materials and technologies, an avant-gardist and one of the main theoricians of urban planning. We can pin him down as the father of organicism and the champion of an “architecture for everyman”.
MoMA AND FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT AT 150
It has now been two years since Frank Lloyd Wright would have hit the 150-year mark. As an icon of architecture and design, New York’s MoMA made him the subject of a celebration with the exhibit Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, consisting of more than 450 works, including models, blueprints, sketches, drawings, photographs, published articles, furniture pieces, textiles and even building fragments, all of them created by the visionary between 1890 and 1950.
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT | ICONIC WORKS
There is no better way to recall this legendary architect than evoking four of his most iconic creations:
LARKIN COMPANY ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
One of the works in which Wright began to cultivate organicism, this project sprang from its owners’ ideal of providing an atomosphere of great efficience, but also of great cooperation, among its workers. This theme resulted in a design in which the building’s central space was left void from the ground floor up to the ceiling, with open floorspaces featuring balconies that, besides providing a natural system of ventilation and lighting, functioned as a permanent reminder of the company’s ideals and values, ornamented as they were by plaques and ironwork with work-related mottos.
The interior design and furnishings responded to the daily workings of the enterprise but also –a highly innovative notion for the time– to the well-being needs of the workers by offering communal dining rooms, public rooms and a lounge outfitted with a fireplace for the fostering of community culture. With this project, Wright anticipated today’s workplace standards.
KAUFMANN OR FALLINGWATER HOUSE
Probably Wright’s most iconic and important work, this building redefined the relationship between man, architecture and nature by incorporating the waterfall it takes its name from as an essential element of the project and not a mere object for contemplation.
In his quest for a union between nature and man, Wright found his starting point: his admiration for Japanese architecture and his ideal of harmony with the environment led him to lay the house’s foundations on the site’s very rocks and to design it around a nucleus that brought the waterfall inside the house, even going as far as to conceive steps leading directly into the water.
The beauty of this house comes from the extension of its spaces into nature, through large cantilevered terraces that are project as a sculptural element, the site of a cult to harmony between man and nature to be renewed each day.
This work, considered the epitome of organic architecture, was conceived by Wright from a strong conviction of the need of a link with the desert through building with local materials, principal among which are rocks.
Every space respects its environment, belies an almost natural fusion, as if the house had sprung spontaneously from the terrain.
SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM
This new interpretation of the organic comes from an abstraction of curved and circular planes, in a continuum that breaks with New York’s urban grid. Today, it constitutes an iconic point of reference for lovers of art and architecture.
Outside stands the vortex of reinforced concrete. Inside, its whirls mount around a great void, finished by a glass dome. Fluid and sinuous from bottom to top, its majesty commands.
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
Frank Lloyd Wright is not only an icon of his time but also of the visionary and creative spirit of mankind: an indispensable architect.
My buildings see clearly not only the color, drift and inclination
of my own day, but feed its spirit. All of them seek
to provide forms adequate to integrate and harmonize
our new materials, tools and shapes
with the democratic life-ideal of my own day and time.