Livable Masterpieces: How The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Builds Architecture Appreciation.
(Image of Falling Water House. Image courtesy of http://www.wright-house.com/frank-lloyd-wright/fallingwater-pictures/falling-water-fall-house.html )
Growing up in South Florida, many commercial and residential properties are primarily designed in the Spanish Colonial Architecture style. According to Lisa Stacholy of LKS Architects in Atlanta, Ga. Spanish Colonial Architecture is characterized by its "thick, stucco-clad walls, Built from indigenous components (In Florida, that would mean that houses are built using native Coquina rock), and having one story (Douglas Trattner, 2021). Whenever I visited family in Illinois, I loved the sharp contrast between Midwest and South Florida architecture. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, I decided to read the books I have always wanted. After reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand in May 2020 and Anthem in the tenth grade, I completed Ayn Rand's triumvirate by reading The Fountainhead. The Fountainhead extols individuality in a sea of conformity as protagonist Howard Roark designs revolutionary buildings in stark contrast to the established order. Rand based Roark after legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Since then, I have been fascinated by his work. I had the chance to speak with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to learn more about the livable masterpieces.
(Image of Frank Lloyd Wright. Image Courtesy of New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer: Al Ravenna. Image is found at http://www.americaslibrary.gov/aa/wright/aa_wright_subj_e.html)
1. What makes a Frank Lloyd Wright house?
There are many ways you could answer this, but here are two answers . The first one is that it was designed and executed by Frank Lloyd Wright. If you took a Frank Lloyd Wright design that never got built, and tried to make them today, 60 years after his death, it wouldn't be a "Wright design" because he was always involved in the building process and changed things through the execution. The key is that Frank Lloyd Wright needed to be directly involved in the project from inception to completion. The second answer is that his buildings are site-specific. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is based at his winter homes & studio, Taliesin West in Arizona. The building was designed and inspired by the landscape it occupies. If you moved Taliesin West to Wisconsin or Florida, it will not work. Taliesin West Cana only exists precisely where it is.
Wright has signature elements, including cantilevers and floor-to-ceiling windows. He was constantly looking ahead. He would say," I believe in God, only I spell it Nature." His concepts, today celebrated, were radical when initially proposed in 1938. His idea of the open floor plan was not only innovative but also served a purpose of keeping the family connected to each other while occupying different spaces
(Image courtesy of Carol M. Highsmith. Image can found on http://loc.gov/pictures/resource/highsm.15376/ )
He never wanted to do the same thing twice. If you asked him, you know, what's your favorite of your designs? His answer was always, the next one.
(Image courtesy of Jean-Christophe Benoist. Image can be found on https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NYC_-_Guggenheim_Museum.jpg )
2. I first heard of Wrights's work when he was used as the inspiration for Ayn Rand's work The Fountainhead. What was their relationship like?
Wright's relationship with Ayn Rand is exaggerated. He designed a house for her that was never built. When Warner Brothers created the movie version of The Fountainhead, people would ask Wright how he felt about the film, and he would tell them that he denied the paternity and did not know the mother. The Fountainhead immortalized him in pop culture. Since the Fountainhead, his work has inspired the scenery of television shows such as Game of Thrones and Westworld.
3. How can one be inspired by Wright to learn more about archietecutre?
If you ask a person to name a famous architect, 99% of the people will answer Frank Lloyd Wright. If you tried to dig down a little deeper and ask, "Can you name one of his buildings?" many people would say Falling Water.
(Image of Laurent House. Image courtesy of Nels Akerlund. Image can be found at https://www.laurenthouse.com/gallery )
Frank Lloyd Wright was more than an architect of buildings. He was an architect of ideas- Jeff
The mission tof the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is to inspire people to discover and embrace an architecture, for better living through meaningful connections to nature, the arts, and each other. So it's not just about the buildings; instead, it's about the ideas. These ideas are embodied in his writings, how architecture can promote a better lifestyle and a better way of living in general, you know, within the community within the world.
(Video courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation)