Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin in 1867, just two years after the end of the American Civil War. Wright’s mother was a teacher and believed strongly in the early childhood blocks by Friedrich Frobel. These blocks consisted of various geometrically shaped blocks that could be assembled in various combinations to form three-dimensional compositions. In his autobiography, Frank Lloyd Wright talks about the influences of these exercises on his approach to design. Many of his buildings contain these same geometrical designs.
Wright started college in 1885 at the University of Wisconsin School for Engineering in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1887 he ran out of money and had to leave college without a degree. Later, in 1955, the University of Wisconsin granted him an honorary doctorate of fine arts. It was at this point that he moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he joined the architectural firm of Joseph Lyman Silsbee. Within the year, he had left Silsbee to work for the firm of Adler and Sullivan. They were quick to spot his talent and in 1890, he was assigned all residential design work for the firm. In 1893, Wright left Adler and Sullivan to establish his own practice in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
He had completed around fifty projects by 1901. These included many homes in northern Illinois and Wisconsin. Between 1900 and 1910, his home designs were called “Prairie Houses.” The houses extended low with shallow, sloping roofs, clean sky lines, suppressed chimneys, overhangs and terraces, that used unfinished materials. The name “Prairie Houses” came from Mr. Wright’s designs that were complementary to the land that they were built on. These houses are credited with being the first examples of the open plan for homes.
Frank Lloyd Wright believed that humanity should be central to all design. Wright responded to the change in the lives of Americans at the turn of the century by developing...