1941 - Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

Fallingwater, Bear Run, Pennsylvania

Designer: Wright, Frank Lloyd (1867-1959)
Copyright: Michael Hodges/RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1969)

Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Wisconsin, the son of Welsh parents, and considered himself to be Welsh rather than American all his life. After training as an engineer at Wisconsin University, he was articled before producing his first building for two of his aunts. He then was apprenticed to Adler and Louis Sullivan for a year, before working on his own in 1888.


Working in Illinois, Wright developed his first characteristic style, namely ‘Prairie Architecture’, which was represented as low-lying buildings with deep overhanging eaves. His own first house at Taliesin, Wisconsin, was a prime example of Prairie Architecture. Wright was also one of the first architects to introduce and develop open-plan living within the domestic context.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Fifth Avenue, New York

Designer: Wright, Frank Lloyd (1867-1959)
Copyright: Bernard Cox/RIBA Library Photographs Collection (1979)

Wright’s first office building was the Larkin Building in Chicago (1904), closely followed by the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo (1914-18) which survived a Japanese earthquake when all other buildings surrounding it were damaged. Wright’s design was built only on shallow foundations (instead of deep) and supported the floors from a series of central pillars.

Awarded the Royal Gold Medal for 'the great ability of this outstanding architect'.

After the First World War, Wright continued to design and build houses, using pre-cast concrete blocks, the most famous of which is Falling Water in Pennsylvania which was built for Edgar Kaufmann.


Due to the Second World War and the difficulties of travelling, Wright did not attend  the Royal Gold Medal ceremony in London, but sent a telegram expressing his gratitude.