Saturday, June 20, 2009

Top 10: 5. Frank Lloyd Wright

Above, Fallingwater

Frank Lloyd Wright's sheer intellect and creative ability has not been surpassed, in the opinion of most architects. I share that opinion. Still, he has been, I think, a sort of difficult figure for most architects of the last 40 years or so. While his acknowledged prominance and, probably, genius makes the study of his work rewarding and inevitable, his work was so singular that its lessons for other architects tended to be highly abstracted.

That said, less obvious elements of Wright's work have evidenced much broader influence than the literal forms typically present in his buildings. These less obvious elements are principles rather than Wright's forms or details. The principles include integration of landscape and built space, articulation of natural materials, "thematic" detailing and eagerness to integrate new products and systems into design.

A truly compelling aspect of Wright's work lies in the unified aesthetic he was capable of infusing into each project. Not only would the concept of the building and its site be superbly resolved, details of furniture, daylighting and light fixtures, furniture, stained glass windows and carpet were all typical aspects of the design, and every aspect would be highly integrated within a the organized configuration or scheme of the project.

Wright was a capable designer of structural systems as well as aesthetically distinguished buildings. The columns Wright designed for the Johnson's Wax headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin were remarkable. He described them as lily pads, with their diameter of nine inches at the base, sharply flaring out to almost twenty feet at the top. The building official required a mockup column to be loaded and tested to failure. Sixty tons were loaded onto the column before it collapsed.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House on the campus...Image via Wikipedia

Frank Lloyd WrightImage via Wikipedia

Frank Lloyd Wright designed house (one of two)...Image via Wikipedia

Frank Lloyd Wright, Clinton Walker ResidenceImage by dalylab via Flickr

1 comment:

  1. Like It
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