Around America with Frank Lloyd Wright

He took from ancient monuments and mechanical machines to build a new architectural aesthetic for a modern America

By Google Arts & Culture

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867/1959)Sydney Opera House

Frank Lloyd Wright

Throughout Frank Lloyd Wright's 70-year-long career he had over 500 buildings constructed, and designed 500 more. He pioneered the Prairie School of architecture, the Usonian Home, and Organic Architecture. It's fair to say he created modern America.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Oak Park, Illinois

Wright studied civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but he never graduated. Instead, he took work as a draughtsman before he started designing his own houses. This is an extension to his house he built in 1898, already showing elements of his later work.

Robie House, Illinois

The Prairie School is considered one of the first distinctly American styles of architecture. Wright was its greatest proponent, and the Robie House with its red brick, low roofs, and wide eaves, exemplifies the style. It's no surprise it's now a US National Historic Landmark.

Jacobs House, Madison, Wisconsin

When Herbert and Katherine Jacobs commissioned their first house from Wright in 1937, he used the opportunity to build a utopian 'Usonian' home, constructed from plywood, designed around 'workspaces' rather than grand rooms, and intended to be built all over the USA.

Ennis House, Los Angeles, California

This monumental house was designed in the early 1920s using Wright's new 'textile' system. He used modular brick-like elements which allowed for, "fabrication as infinite in color, texture, and variety as in that rug". It also shows the distinct influence of Mayan architecture.

Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin

For all his utopianism, Wright was a difficult person to live and work with. In 1903 he began an affair with a client's wife, and the pair ended up eloping to Europe. When they returned, he bought up a parcel of land and by 1911 had built a new house for himself, named Taliesin.

In 1914, Taliesin was the scene of a horrific crime. While Wright was working in Chicago, a servant named Julian Carlton set fire to the building and murdered seven people, including Wright's girlfriend Mamah Cheney and her children, with an axe. Wright later rebuilt Taliesin.

Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania

The Bear Run river flows beneath the cantilevered structure of his 1937 Fallingwater. Rough stone and smooth concrete contrast with one another, but blend into the rural, pine forest surroundings. Fallingwater is often talked of as the most beautiful building in America.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York

Later in life, Wright's style underwent another major shift, as shown in the singular Guggenheim Museum. The spiralling building was conceived as a 'temple of the spirit', and allows visitors and uninterrupted flow of art from floor to ceiling.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867/1959)Sydney Opera House

Want to know more about modern design and architecture? Discover all things Bauhaus

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