Frank Lloyd Wright built hundreds of houses according to his projects, but the city of dreams, led by the architect-leader, never materialized.
The beginning of Wright’s career and the new style in architecture
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin, USA. The family was not rich, so from the age of 11 he worked on his uncle’s farm. The teenager has learned to love and appreciate the land – this will be reflected in his future projects.
At the age of 18, Wright entered the engineering school at the University of Wisconsin, began working part-time at a construction site and in a design office. The architect never finished his studies and subsequently spoke badly of the “scholastic” university education.
Two years later, he moved to Chicago and got a job with the architect Joseph Silsby, later Wright was accepted into the firm of Adler and Sullivan. Louis Sullivan, one of the leaders under whom Wright worked for six years, influenced his views on architecture.
In 1893-1920, eclecticism flourished in American architecture, a mixture of styles. After the industrial revolution of the 19th century, architects received new materials for construction, but the “rules” for them had not yet developed.
Therefore, the architects were inspired by history and combined different styles of the past in their projects. At that time, there was no national style in architecture in the United States.
Wright already then realized that modern architecture needs simplicity, naturalness and expediency. Based on the achievements of his predecessors (Henri Labrouste, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, Louis Sullivan’s teacher), the young architect formulated an alternative to historical styles and eclecticism – “organic” architecture, or, as he said, “organic”.
A good building does not disturb the landscape, it makes the landscape even more beautiful than it was before the building was built.
From the beginning to the end of his architectural career, Wright tried to create buildings that would fit seamlessly into the landscape. Wright liked to “attach” to the area, took into account the features of the earth and tried to save every tree and stone.
The house should not stand on a hill. It must be a hill. Be a part of it. The house and the hill must exist together.
In addition to natural conditions, the architect took into account the associations and images caused by the landscape. The prairies of Chicago, the subtropics of California or the deserts of Arizona – for each locality, Wright created a house that would be associated with it.
“Houses of the Prairie”
From 1894, Wright himself realized the ideas of organic architecture. The first creative period (1900-1915) was the most fruitful in his career. Its result is “prairie houses”.
“Prairie style”, according to the architect, was great for building estates in the Midwest. He wanted to emphasize the beauty of the American plains with the help of architecture, to make the house an extension of the land on which it stands. Such houses were almost always distinguished by horizontal lines.
He abandoned basements, which he considered “unhygienic” and unnecessary in the conditions of the American prairies. He also treated attics and attics, so the roofs of Wright’s houses were low gable or generally flat.
The architect provided storage systems in the building itself and strove for the smallest number of floors and the greatest contact of the house with the ground.