Frank Lloyd Wright

The architect behind Falling Water, and winner of the Royal Gold Medal in 1941

 

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Fifth Avenue, New York © Bernard Cox / RIBA Library Photographs Collection 1979

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York © Bernard Cox / RIBA Library Photographs Collection 1979

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 became an apprentice 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.

© RIBA Library Photographs Collection 1941

© RIBA Library Photographs Collection 1941

Born:  1867 (-1959)
Nationality:  American

Wright’s first office building was the Larkin Building in Chicago, closely followed by the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo 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.   

Robie House, Chicago (c) Bernard Cox / RIBA Library Photographs Collection 1979Price Tower, Bartlesville, Oklahoma (c) RIBA Library Photographs Collection 1955Francis Apartments, Chicago (c) RIBA Library Photographs Collection 1970Dana-Thomas residence, Springfiled, Illinois: the courtyard (c) Damien Blower / RIBA Library Photographs CollectionCharles Ennis residence, Griffith Park, Los Angeles (c) Damien Blower / RIBA Library Photographs Collection 1990Arch Oboler residence, Los Angeles (c) Damien Blower / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

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. 

Awards:

  • Royal Gold Medal, 1941

Buildings by Wright: 

  • Francis Apartments, Chicago, 1895
  • Larkin Building, Buffalo, 1904
  • Dana-Thomas residence, Illinois, 1904
  • Robie House, Chicago, 1909
  • Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, 1918
  • Charles Ennis residence, Los Angeles, 1929
  • Falling Water, Pennsylvania
  • Arch Oboler residence, Los Angeles, 1941
  • Price Tower, Oklahoma, 1955
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1959

 

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