Perhaps no architect has impacted American culture more profoundly than Frank Lloyd Wright. He created unusual homes, office spaces, city plans, furniture, and art. He wrote voluminously, and he helped to redefine what it meant to build. In this e-book, we interrogate the life and ideas of Wright, arguing that his architecture can help us to understand America today. The structure of the book is derived from Wright's thinking, and from the practice of designing buildings and furniture. We hope that you enjoy reading about this great thinker.
On a purely biographical level, Wright is a person who is fascinating to learn about. He had strong opinions, a flamboyant attitude, and an egocentric personality. He used his fame to push forward personal agendas, including his political ideas and approach to city planning. His thinking was closely interlinked with his architectural practice. In an era when most architects were men, his ideas were informed by first wave feminist thinking. At a time when environmental degradation was common, he embraced the natural world and developed the concept of "organic architecture." During an era in which many architects used traditional approaches to structural engineering, Wright daringly experimented with new techniques, materials, technologies, and configurations.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed modular furniture as well as plans for mass-produced Usonian homes. We thus use this as a metaphor for the chapters in our book, which can be reconfigured and read in any order, just as the tables and seating Wright designed for homes could be rearranged. As a starting point, we suggest that you read the biographical and historical module, which contains links to the other portions of the e-book. For readers interested in masterpieces of architecture, the famous buildings path may be a particularly engaging to follow. Individuals interested in engineering may wish to engage with a path focused on such matters. This project is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather includes a focused set of case studies that we hope hints at the significance of an interesting person.