Written by Diyana J/28 November 2021
Frank Lloyd Wright was helmed as America’s most famous architect, and forefather of the Usonian concept. Born 1867, Wright was also one of the notable pioneers of Prairie-style homes, which he then later evolved into a more Usonian angle, which meant harmonizing humanity and the environment all together in one space. He exemplified this seamless union of homes and nature, which can be seen in his most famous building, Fallingwater which then led to several influences in pop-culture.
Fallingwater was built atop of a waterfall itself, and other than its horizontal lines echoing
prairie influences and selection of local stones used throughout the home, it was also famously acclaimed as Wright’s best work due to the openness and brightness of the interior due to his choice of Pyrex Glass. Throughout his career, he built several schools, churches and work offices. Fallingwater was built when Wright was approaching the later part of his career, which he claims was an accumulation of his experiences.
Fallingwater’s furnishings was also notably a landmark in American Architecture due to its intricacy. Wright even designed a fireplace which made use of local stones, that seeped out into the flooring. He wanted to introduce the marriage of human living and nature, making sure that was no noticeable boundary between the two. One might say that his delicate sense for harmony also led him to make his own artwork and fashion pieces as well.
In the beginning, Wright only designed Prairie style homes. Notably, the Robie House which had long horizontal lines and a low, but wide roof. The most important aspects of the Prairie style homes were the workmanship included throughout the interior and exterior of the homes. Everything from the fireplace to stained glass windows, to the customized light fixtures to the parapet placed purposefully at the entrance of the home screams elegance, and were meant to be luxurious homes for the rich. His works had painfully detailed workmanship that he soon became well-known for this particular aesthetic.
He is also best known for his work in Japan; the Imperial Hotel. He was often inspired by ukiyo-e Japanese wooden blocks, art and prints. The Imperial Hotel was helmed as a genius work because it stood the test of the Earthquake in 1923, and provided shelter for many homeless during this trying time. Though he was asked to rebuild the hotel after its destruction during World War 2, Wright declined the project and sought to build homes in America instead.
After some time, he realized that most of his homes were too extravagant, so he made an effort to make them affordable to the masses. These homes were called the Usonian Homes made to stylize a uniquely American architecture. The interior furnishings were also custom designed by him as well of which were uniquely open-plan spaces, with dining tables and chairs that were customized to the theme and space of each house. He built 40-60 of these homes, before his death.
Other than making headlines for his scandalous private life and marriage to three different women, Wright was very much America’s most influential architect. And this all began, from building his first private home at the age of 22, which was not well-received by the public. Its modern style, though it had Prairie influences, was not popular and very much showcased how Wright’s style was ahead of his time. He introduced a customizable element to his architectural work however, in which can be seen on a plaque displayed above the fireplace of his first private residence.
The plaque reads, “Truth is Life. Good friend, around these hearth stones speak no evil word of any creature.”
The sitting area around the fireplace was most likely meant to host guests, and the message that he had chosen to have carved into the plaque showcased his person at the early age of 22.