Frank Lloyd Wright

Architect

Born: 8 June 1867
Died: 9 April 1959
Birthplace: Richland Center, Wisconsin
Best known as: Influential American architect
Frank Lloyd Wright is considered the most influential American architect of the 20th century. His legacy is an architectural style that departed from European influences to create a purely American form, one that included the idea that buildings can be in harmony with the natural environment. Over his long career Wright designed a wide variety of structures, both public and private, including the home known as Fallingwater, the Johnson Wax Building and New York's Guggenheim Museum.

Important Works

The Larkin Office Building (1904; destroyed 1950), Buffalo, and Oak Park Unity Temple (1908), near Chicago, were early monumental works that exerted wide influence. Among other notable works are the Imperial Hotel (1916–22; demolished 1968; partially reconstructed, Meiji Mura Mus., Inuyama, Japan), Tokyo, Japan, which withstood the effects of the 1923 earthquake; the Midway Gardens (1914; destroyed 1923), Chicago; and Wright's own residence “Taliesin” (1911; twice burned and rebuilt) at Spring Green, Wis. Among his later projects were “Taliesin West” (1936–59), Scottsdale, Ariz. (which has continued since his death as a school of architecture); the Johnson administration building (1936–39; research tower, 1950), Racine Wis.; and the house for Edgar Kaufmann, “Fallingwater” (1936–37), Bear Run, Pa., which is dramatically cantilevered over a waterfall.

After World War II, Wright continued a large and ever-inventive practice until his death. He created dynamic interior spaces with spiral ramps for the V. C. Morris Gift Shop (1948–49), San Francisco, and for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1946–59), New York City. Other notable later buildings include a Unitarian church (1947), Madison, Wis.; the Price Tower (1955), Bartlesville, Okla.; and Beth Sholom Synagogue (1959), Elkins Park, Pa. He left numerous unrealized projects, including one for a mile-high skyscraper (“The Illinois”) for Chicago and an ambitious design for a civic center in Madison, Wis. The latter was later reconceived as the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center and opened in 1997.