Frank Lloyd Wright America’s most famous architect. I got introduced to a lot of great artists and architects while taking Interior Design and Architecture classes. Out of all of the remarkable designers, he’s one of my favorite. F.L.Wright is well known as one of the first organic architects who created marvelous designs. Someone one’s said ” Organic Architecture strives to integrate space into a unified whole. Frank Lloyd Wright was not concerned with architecture style, because he believed that every building should grow naturally from its environment”.
Originally F.L.Wright was from Wisconsin. After his parents divorced in 1885, to help his family financially, 18 years old Frank worked for engineering department in University Of Wisconsin, while attending the University as well. In 1887, he decided to leave Madison for Chicago to pursuit his long lasting dream of becoming an architect. Start of Wright’s career was working as draftsman for Architectural firm of Joseph Lyman Silsbee. After a year he decided to join another firm of Adler And Sullivan. He was assigned as a draftsman on the largest project of the firm at the time, the massive Auditorium Building. Few years later he became a principle draftsman at Adler and Sullivan. However, due to taking independent commissions, he got fired from the firm. Working for Sullivan was the most influential period of time in his training. Wright was inspired of Sullivan’s relationship between architecture and nature, which helped him to continue lasting until his death, as well as getting a title of one longest and most distinguished Architects in America.
Throughout his life, Wright designed over 1000 structures and completed over 500 of them in which, many are located in our own city of Chicago. However, the one I chose to talk about is a house built in Pennsylvania, called Fallingwater. The house was built between 1936-1939, for the Kaufmann Family, who owned Kaufmann’s department store, now part of Macy’s. The Kaufmanns lived in Pittsburgh, PA, sometimes called ” Smoky City” due to huge amount of air pollution. Therefore, they liked to vacation in the mountains, where they owned property with vacation cabins, so when they decided to build a new, more modern vacation house, they turned to F.L.Wright.
Wright believed in organic architecture, and was well known for modern art and design. Kaufmanns were intrigued by that, deciding to work with Frank, and that is how “Best all-time work of American architecture” started. Kaufmanns expectation of placement of the house were slightly different then Frank’s. In their mind house should be located facing the beautiful view of the waterfall, but Wright’s plan was to build the house on top of it instead. At first, Kaufmann did not like the idea and it made him really upset, but after Wright’s reaction of either this or nothing, he agreed to continue the project.
The area where the base of the Fallingwater supposed to be placed, was not supported enough to hold on to entire structure, so Wright used new kind of architecture called The cantilever- reinforced concrete trays, which were horizontal floor units extended from the rock ledges exposed at the waterfalls. The other very important part of the structure was the vertical core, which includes the hearth and chimney, and is the highest element of the house. The Fallingwater includes two parts: The Main house built between 1936-1938, and the Guest room completed in 1939. The house was a creation of harmony between human and nature. Exterior and Interior spaced were influenced by organic and Japanese design and architecture. First floor contains, an open living room and kitchen. Second floor accommodates small bedrooms and third floor the study and Kaufmann’s son bedroom. The original house was fully furnished by Wright and relates to its natural surroundings. To show the unity of architecture and nature Wright designed very special place inside the house, a fireplace where the family gathers. Fireplace is located in the heart of the house and it has a stone which cuts through it and is bringing the waterfall inside the house. Narrow passages play major role in the house as well, they cut through and lead outside where you can admire an amazing view. Even, the living room carries steps which take you right outside the water, and terraces which function is to raise the plan and open house to outside.
There is no question that Fallingwater is a creation of a genius, whose extraordinary work brought harmony in between man, architecture and nature. Nowadays, the house is known as Pennsylvania state historical marker, after Kaufmann’s donated the property to Western Pennsylvania conservancy. In 1964 Fallingwater was opened to the public as a museum, and since then was visited by over 5 million people. “Time” magazine stated that Fallingwater was the “most beautiful job” of Wright’s, as well as was listed on Smitsonian’s Life List of 28 places “to visit before you die”.
Why there is no more buildings looking like Fallingwater?
Due to intensive program to preserve and restore Fallingwater, do you think its original construction will eventually change?
How Wright’s designs affect modern architecture?