"Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities."
- Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was born in the agricultural community of Bear Valley, Wisconsin. As a child, he spent a lot of time playing with geometrically shaped building blocks designed by Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (known as Froebel Gifts). He joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering in 1885 but left after taking classes part-time for only three semesters and moved to Chicago to work for an architectural firm. He married the daughter of a wealthy businessman in 1889 and, having been asked to leave the architectural firm he had been working in because he was moonlighting, set up his own practice in 1890. By 1901 he had completed about fifty projects; during the next 16 years he built many open plan "Prairie Houses" around Chicago, such as the Frederick Robie House, which is considered one of the finest examples of the style.
In 1904, Wright designed a house for Edwin Cheney of Oak Park, during which he fell in love with Cheney's wife Mamah Borthwick Cheney (pronounced may-muh). They eloped to Europe in a furor of scandal that virtually destroyed Wright's architectural practice. During their time in Europe, the two volume Wasmuth Portfolio was published, exposing Europeans to Wright's architecture for the first time. In 1911, Wright began to built a new home for himself close his mother's family land in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Named Taliesin, the original house was destroyed in a fire started by a crazed servant who murdered seven people as the fire raged, including Mamah and her two children.
In 1922, Wright's first wife granted him a divorce so that in 1923 he was able to marry Maude Noel; however her morphine addiction destroyed the marriage in less than a year. Shortly after, Wright met Olga Lazovich Hinzenburg and they moved into Taliesin in 1925 where their daughter, Iovanna, was born in 1925. In the same year, a second fire destroyed parts of Taliesin, which were rebuilt. In 1928, Wright and Olgivanna were married, after Wright obtained a divorce from his second wife.
Wright's most notable building during the 1920s was the Graycliff estate. During the 1930s he constructed his most famous private residence, Fallingwater. It was also in the 1930s that Wright first designed budget-minded houses for the middle-classes known as "Usonian" houses.
He is arguably best known for the Guggenheim Museum in New York, constructed between 1943 and 1959.
During his long career, Wright built 362 buildings, of which 300 survive today. He is remembered for his organic architectural style that utilize local resources to build light and airy houses that met the needs of his clients. He not only designed the buildings but also the furniture and lighting inside them.
More quotes from Frank Lloyd Wright
A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.
Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change.
I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.
If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.
Mechanization best serves mediocrity.
No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.
Simplicity and repose are qualities that measure the true value of any work of art.
Television is chewing gum for the eyes.
There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.
This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.
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