Learn about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, his style and work in this new English Plus Podcast episode and learn 10 new words along the way and add them to your active vocabulary bank.
Architecture in the Prairie Style | The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright
Among the arts, architecture is unique. Unlike the painter or the writer, the architect must first have a buyer and then satisfy the wishes of that client. In designing a building, the architect must reconcile his or her personal sense of art not only with the client’s artistic sense, but with the client’s practical needs.
Perhaps because of this client-artist bond, architecture seems inextricably linked to the values and ideals of the culture that produced it. The ancient Greek emphasis on discipline and harmony is clearly visible in the balance and symmetry of the stately columns that have been emulated in so many of our courthouses and government buildings.
Great architectural achievements have been historically associated with the huge and impressive structures in the midst of large, densely populated cities. However, Frank Lloyd Wright made his mark on the architectural world in the prairies of the Midwest. In fact, Wright railed against the urban architectural environment.
As a young man, Wright traveled to Chicago in search of a position as an apprentice architect. In the late 1800s there could have been no better place for an aspiring architect. The great Chicago Fire of 1871 afforded architects the opportunity to rebuild a city, and they were doing it with unprecedented creativity and ingenuity.
After spending some six years as a drafter, Wright set up his own practice in 1893. By 1910 he had received international recognition for his Prairie Style, which emphasized the harmonious relationship that must exist between a building’s form and its function. This strong sense of the intrinsic relationship between form, function, and environment can be seen in all of the houses he designed. A Frank Lloyd Wright house typically had a low, horizontal shape, which blended naturally with the open prairie. This sense of natural harmony also found overt expression in Wright’s use of earth colors and wood.
Wright’s most controversial structure is the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. This museum has been both criticized as a grotesque insult to the city and praised as one of the most remarkable feats of modern architecture. Whatever the judgment on Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, he stands unequaled in his influence on modern architecture.
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