Ask the average citizen to name a famous American architect and their answer is likely to be Frank Lloyd Wright. Born in 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin in 1867, Wright gained such cultural primacy for good reason: he changed the way we build and live. Designing 1,114 architectural works of all types — 532 of which were realized — he created some of the most innovative spaces in the United States. With a career that spanned seven decades before his death in 1959, Wright’s visionary work cemented his place as the American Institute of Architects’ “greatest American architect of all time.”
At the age of twenty he ran away from home and travelled to Chicago in pursuit of architecture, where he discovered the work of Adler and Sullivan, applied for a job, and worked directly under Louis Sullivan for nearly seven years. In 1893 he established his own practice. His work in and around Chicago from 1893 to 1909 heralded a new concept in architecture. The “Larkin Building” and “Unity Temple” saw innovations in design and engineering, made possible by the technology and materials of the twentieth century.
By means of reinforced concrete, glass, steel, sheet metal, and the cantilever, he developed an architecture in which the reality of the building was the space within. This evasive element — almost mystical by nature — of liberated interior space, is the pervading quality in everything he built. In 1932 Wright and his wife Olgivanna founded the Taliesin Fellowship, a school of architecture at their own home.
Soon came the famous commissions for Fallingwater and the Johnson Wax Administration Building. As his work increased, so did the power of his creative genius. There seemed to be no end to the variety of forms, ideas, shapes, spaces, concepts, and innovations that poured forth from him. He left behind him a group of people dedicated to the conception of organic architecture: drawing upon the people of the Taliesin Fellowship, he established the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which continues to preserve and safeguard the work, archives, and principles of this great Master.