Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright, 
Falling Water (Kaufmann House) Bear Run, PA. 1936

Form: "Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most widely acclaimed works, was designed for the family of Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann. The key to the setting of the house is the waterfall over which it is built. The falls had been a focal point of the family's activities, and they had indicated the area around the falls as as the location for a home. They were unprepared for Wright's suggestion that the house rise over the waterfall, rather than face it. But the architect's original scheme was adopted almost without change. Completed with guest and service wing in 1939, Fallingwater was constructed of sandstone quarried on the property and laid up by local craftsmen. The stone serves to separate reinforced concrete "trays," forming living and bedroom levels, dramatically cantilevered over the stream. Fallingwater was the weekend home of the Kaufmann family from 1937 until 1963, when the house, its contents, and grounds were presented to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. Fallingwater is the only remaining great Wright house with its setting, original furnishings, and art work intact. In 1986, New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote: "This is a house that summed up the 20th century and then thrust it forward still further. Within this remarkable building Frank Lloyd Wright recapitulated themes that had
preoccupied him since his career began a half century earlier, but he did not reproduce them literally. Instead, he cast his net wider, integrating European modernism and his own love of nature and of structural daring, and pulled it all together into a brilliantly resolved totality. Fallingwater is Wright's greatest essay in horizontal space; it is his most powerful piece of structural drama; it is his most sublime integration of man and nature." 
(culled from

Iconography: "Architecture is the triumph of the Human Imagination over materials, methods, and men, to put man into possession of his own Earth. It is at least the geometric pattern of things, of life, of the human and social world. It is at best that magic framework of reality that we sometimes touch upon when we use the word 'order'."
       -- Frank Lloyd Wright, 1930, 1937 
"Perhaps the most well known of Wright's buildings is the "Falling Water" house in Bear Run, Pennsylvania. The house is
surrounded by a dense forest, large rocks and a stream. What makes the house special is the way it blends in with the
forest and water around it. The house is integrated with a waterfall, and strong horizontal, sheltering roof lines accentuate
the broad rocks below. Inside the house, a large fireplace gives a friendly appearance, and windows offer a beautiful view
of the foliage surrounding the building. Overall, the house generates a feeling of being in touch with nature. "
Full text at 

Context:  "Frank Lloyd Wright  began his architectural career in Chicago working in the firm of Adler and Sullivan between 1887 and 1893.  Louis Sullivan's famous dictum, "form follows function", certainly had an impact on Wright's conception of what he termed Organic Architecture. Wright  was also very influenced by Japanese architecture after he saw a Japanese home that was constructed at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He particularly responded to the openness of the interiors of Japanese homes and how the exterior, natural world was integrated with the interior. Another important domestic influence was the contemporary Arts and Crafts Movement and its emphasis on the warmth and texture of wood. His design sense also shared much in common with De Stijl, the contemporary art and design movement in Holland that emphasized vertical and horizontal elements in very rational and spare designs. Gerritt Rietveld's Schroeder House of 1924 is an excellent example of De Stijl architectural design.  Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg were two painters working in this style. Throughout his long career of more than 70 years Frank Lloyd Wright received relatively few commissions for large public buildings. The majority of his work consists of single family homes. His creativity and approach to the design problems associated with domestic architecture were allowed to range freely in creating a diverse and rich  body of work. Wright's early homes he dubbed Prairie Houses because of their inspiration from the long flat horizontal planes and space of the American Midwest. The Prairie Style houses exhibited the characteristics of Wright's Organic Architecture and the Robie House, built in Chicago in 1909, epitomized the early maturation of his concepts. The Prairie Houses seemed to be one with the horizontal landscape they rose out of. Frank Lloyd Wright's Organic Architecture was first described in a paper published in 1898. He first used the term "organic architecture" in a talk given in 1894.  He defined Organic Architecture as architecture that is appropriate to time, appropriate to place, and appropriate to man.  By "appropriate to time" Wright meant that the building should be of its own era. That is a 20th century building should look like a 20th century building, not an 18th century building. It should also make appropriate use of the materials and technology available to the builder. By "appropriate to place" Wright  felt that the building should be in harmony with its natural environment. When possible the building should take advantage of and work with, natural features of the site. By "appropriate to man" he meant that
buildings should serve people, not the architect and not fashion. He designed buildings that were conceived on a human scale with the human body as the basic unit of measure. "the reality of the building is the space within to be lived in, not the walls and ceiling" The basic design elements of his conception of Organic architecture may be summarized by the following characteristics. 
Open, well modulated, interior spaces 
Informal design 
Unity with nature and the space around the structure, often           created by using materials from the construction site 
Rich textures and surfaces 
Built to a human scale 
The E.J. Kaufmann House (Falling Water) in Bear Run, Pennsylvania, is without a doubt the best known example or Organic Architecture, and perhaps the highest manifestation of these concepts.Frank Lloyd Wright first came to Arizona in 1927 in order to consult on the design of the Arizona Biltmore.During his second visit when he worked on the design of a resort hotel to be called San Marcos-in-the-Desert he brought his family, draughtsmen, and students. They built a camp village in the desert made of tent-like structures. The structures, made of canvas, let in a soft diffuse light to the interiors that inspired Wright to develop new ways of lighting interiors. He also liked the close relationship of the open, light interiors with stark beauty and the broad expanse of the desert they live in. In 1936, after contracting pneumonia in the harsh Wisconsin winter, Wright decided to build a more permanent winter home in the desert near Phoenix. A piece of property in north-east Scottsdale was selected near the base of the McDowell Mountains. The site of TaliesinWest, as the home and studio came to be known, is on a rise with a sweeping view of the desert to the south. Construction began in 1938.
"...Arizona needs its own architecture. The straight line and broad plane should come here - of all places - to become the dotted line,
 the textured, broken plane, for in all the vast desert there is not one hard, undotted line!"
The basic structure of Taliesin West is made of formed concrete filled with local rocks picked up from the building site. Wright incorporated his ideas inspired by the translucency of the canvas used in the earlier desert camps and many of the first roofs and walls at Taliesin were initially made of canvas. Now the canvas has been replaced with glass or fiberglass. The translucent walls and ceilings provide the interiors with a wonderful diffuse light during the day and bring in the desert sky at night. Click here for a description of the buildings.
Taliesin West like the Prairie Houses and Falling Water appears be one with its site - growing out of the desert with forms that echo the
 nearby McDowell Mountains and the vast expanse of the surrounding landscape.Wright designed several private homes in the Phoenix area. The Harold Price, Sr. House, built in 1954,  is one of the most striking and most accessible, it's right on Tatum Road north of Lincoln. The Price House is built with inexpensive, common building materials, notably concrete clock. Nonetheless, the house still maintains Wright's basic design sensibilities with open, fluid spaces, broad overhangs and the feeling that it belongs on the site. The Price House compliments the site, and the landscape, in the way that  Fallingwater compliments the waterfall it sits beside and over."
 Taken directly from, (