Frank Lloyd Wright 1867 - 1959
Frank Lloyd Wright is widely considered the greatest American architect. After studying civil engineering at the Univ. of Wisconsin, he worked for seven years in the office of Dankmar Adler and Louis H. Sullivan in Chicago.
In addition to being a great architect he was also a great and very talented stained glass designer. Working with stained glass between during a time when the popularity of stained glass had a reached it's peak since the Middle Ages. He designed over 150 houses that included stained glass in virtually every window opening. Frank Lloyd Wright refered to his windows was light screens. His architecture and window designs were of the Queen Anne and Shingle styles. From 1886 until 1893, the young Wright served his apprenticeships, first with Joseph Lyman Silsbee and then with Louis Sullivan. It was not until 1893 that Wright became an independent architect. Frank Lloyd Wright's first commission was the Winslow House in River Forest.
In 1901 when the Frank Thomas house was built in Oak Park, the Prairie house was a full-fledged architectural system, in which Wright's principles of organic architecture were paramount. In organic architecture, ornament is essential, but its design is fundamentally related to that of the building. In many of his buildings, stained glass windows are Wright's sole ornamental expression. In the Thomas house, Wright pulled out all the stops for their design, employing gold leaf, intricate leading, a combination of lead and zinc cames and a rich, possibly floral design in French doors and bands of casement windows around the house.
Some of the most representational of Wright's windows, the Dana house windows clearly depict the flora and fauna of the prairie - butterflies and sumac trees are easily identifiable in the glass patterns of the entry, the reception room, and the dining room. The chevron pattern used in the Dana house became an important component of the design, executed usually in green or amber iridescent glass. This motif would recur in Wright's windows for several more years. It is found in the ceilings of the inglenooks and the dining room, the library, living room, master bedroom, and reception room windows.
Frank Loyd Wright practiced radical innovation both as to structure and stained glass designs. Wright was the first architect in the United States to produce open planning in houses, in a break from the traditional closed volume, and to achieve a fluidity of interior space by his frequent elimination of confining walls between rooms. For the Millard house in Pasadena, Calif., he worked out a new method, known as textile-block slab construction, consisting of double walls of precast concrete blocks tied together with steel reinforcing rods set into both the vertical and the horizontal joints.
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The Larkin Office Building in Buffalo,which was destroyed by fire, and the Oak Park Unity Temple in Chicago were early monumental works that exerted wide influence. Other notable works are the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, which withstood the effects of the 1923 earthquake; the Midway Gardens in Chicago; and Wright's own residence Taliesin in Spring Green, Wis. Among his later projects, the Johnson administration building in Racine Wis.; and the house for Edgar Kaufmann, "Fallingwater" in Bear Run, Pa., which is built over a waterfall. In the late 1940's he 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 in San Francisco, and for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Other notable later buildings include a Unitarian church in Madison, Wis.; the Price Tower in Bartlesville, Okla.; and Beth Sholom Synagogue in, Elkins Park, Pa.
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