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Frank Lloyd Wright

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Wright in 1954

Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was a famous architect from the early 20th century. He designed all kinds of buildings including banks, holiday resorts, office buildings, churches, a synagogue, a gas station, a beer garden and an art museum.[1] He began an American style of building design and is said to be one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century.[2] Wright once had an apprentice who was married to Joseph Stalin's daughter.[3]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Frank Lloyd Wright was born in the farming town of Richland Center, Wisconsin, United States, in 1867 and named Frank Lincoln Wright. His father, William Carey Wright (1825–1904), was a locally admired orator, music teacher, occasional lawyer, and itinerant minister.

Wright attended a Madison high school, but there is no evidence he ever graduated.[4] He was admitted to the University of Wisconsin–Madison as a special student in 1886. There he joined Phi Delta Theta fraternity,[5] took classes part-time for two semesters, and worked with a professor of civil engineering, Allan D. Conover.[6]

Architecture[edit | edit source]

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, the house over the waterfall.

Fallingwater[edit | edit source]

See also: Fallingwater

Frank Lloyd Wright designed a summer house in 1935 for the Kaufmann family over a waterfall in Pennsylvania. He called the house "Fallingwater". Some people say it is the most famous private home in the world.[7]

The house actually sits low in the valley over the stream, but looks dramatic from further downstream. It has large terraces, and some of them stick straight out and hang right over the waterfall or the stream. There are windows and glass doors, with only narrow steel supports between them, wrapping all the way around the living room. There are also windows going all the way from the floor to the ceiling in all three stories of the tower. Most of the house is made from stone. There are strong horizontal and vertical lines in the design of the house. It resembles the horizontal and vertical lines in the rock formations and other natural features. The waterfall can be heard everywhere in the house. Wright wanted there to be a close connection between inside and outside, and for the house itself to be natural.[8]

In 1991, members of the American Institute of Architects named the Fallingwater house the "best all-time work of American architecture".

Robie House[edit | edit source]

One famous house was called the Robie House. It had a maze-like layout and geometric stained glass windows.[9]. The Robie House was a unique house with odd shapes, colors and form. He finished making it in 1910, as a house for children. In fact, many children lived and played in that house with their families up until 1926 when it was closed for living in, and closed to the general public. Many times, it was planned to be destroyed. However, twice, Wright saved his house from destruction because of the reasons he built it and all the memories of it that he loved so much. It is now being restored at a cost of $10 million.[10]

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation[edit | edit source]

In 1940, Wright started the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. It was set up for educational purposes. It looks after two Wright buildings, Taliesin in Wisconsin, and Taliesin West in Arizona. It has a library with more than 22,000 of Wright's drawings, and 300,000 documents. It is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.[11]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Frank Lloyd Wright was married three times and fathered seven children, four sons and three daughters. He also adopted Svetlana Milanoff, the daughter of his third wife, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright.[12]

His wives were:

  • Catherine "Kitty" (Tobin) Wright (1871–1959); social worker, socialite (married in June 1889; divorced November 1922)
  • Maude "Miriam" (Noel) Wright (1869–1930), artist (married in November 1923; divorced August 1927)
  • Olga Ivanovna "Olgivanna" (Lazovich Milanoff) Lloyd Wright (1897–1985), dancer and writer (married in August 1928)

The Oscar-winning actress Anne Baxter was Wright's granddaughter.

Death[edit | edit source]

Wright died on April 9, 1959, while undergoing surgery in Phoenix, Arizona, to remove an intestinal obstruction.[13] His third wife, Olgivanna, ran the Fellowship after Wright's death, until her own death in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1985. That year, it was learned that her dying wish had been that Wright, she, and her daughter by a first marriage all be cremated and relocated to Scottsdale. By then, Wright's body had lain for over 25 years in the Lloyd-Jones cemetery, next to the Unity Chapel, near Taliesin, Wright's later-life home in Spring Green, Wisconsin.[14]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Frank Lloyd Wright . Life and Work". www.pbs.org. http://www.pbs.org/flw/buildings/index.html. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  2. "About Frank Lloyd Wright". www.wrightplus.org. http://www.wrightplus.org/flw/flw.html. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  3. "Frank Lloyd Wright". www.steinerag.com. http://www.steinerag.com/flw/Artifact%20Pages/PhPetersWes.htm. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  4. Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography, by Meryle Secrest, University of Chicago Press, 1992, p.72
  5. Phi Delta Theta list of Famous Phis, accessed on May 26. 2008
  6. Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography, by Meryle Secrest, p. 82
  7. Fallingwater Rising: Frank Lloyd Wright, E. J. Kaufmann, and America's Most Extraordinary House, Franklin Toker, Knopf, 2003, ISBN 1400040264.
  8. Fallingwater: Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece house above the waterfall. Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater: The House and Its History, Donald Hoffmann, New York: Dover Books, 1993, from the Introduction. ISBN 0486274306. www.wright-house.com. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  9. The Wright 3 by Blue Balliet
  10. "Robie House Restoration Project". www.wrightplus.org. http://www.wrightplus.org/robiehouse/restoration/restoration.html. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  11. "About Us". www.franklloydwright.org. http://www.franklloydwright.org/About_Us.html. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  12. ascedia.com. "Taliesin Preservation, Inc. – Frank Lloyd Wright – FAQs". Taliesinpreservation.org. Archived from the original on June 10, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080610011735/http%3A//www.taliesinpreservation.org/frank/faq.htm#Wives_children. Retrieved October 16, 2009.
  13. "Frank Lloyd Wright Dies; Famed Architect Was 89". nytimes.com<!. April 10, 1959. http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0608.html. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  14. The Unity Chapel, designed by Joseph Silsbee, should not be confused with the much larger and vastly more famous Unity Temple, designed by Wright and located in Oak Park, IL. Wright was the draftsman for the design of the Unity Chapel.

Other websites[edit | edit source]