Frank Lloyd Wright,
|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 http://www.inusa.com/tour/pa/laurel/fallingw.htm)
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'."
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