Monday, February 4, 2013

There's no Architecture without the letters A-R-T.

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright is one of my inspirations to become an interior designer. The way he turned architecture into art work was revolutionary. Wright lived to be 91 years old, and throughout his life he had designed over 1,100 buildings, residential and commercial. Last semester, my professor had us go to the Pope-Leighey House (located in Mount Vernon) and write a five page paper on it. I wondered how I would write a five page paper on a house, but when I got there, I realized how easy it would be to write this paper. The house was beautiful, yet unique. I had never seen a home like this. He was known for his “organic architecture” ("Biography."). Wright loved the outdoors and felt that we should be connected with nature. The Pope-Leighey home was built out of wood, and there were many full-length window and clerestory windows that let in an abundance of natural light and also served as ventilation. The space was also very small, only 1,200 square feet, but he made the space appear larger through many tricks. The many windows connecting us with the outside made the space feel open. The ceiling was very low, but he used compression and release to make the rooms feel bigger. The hallways would be very low and narrow, but then the room you enter would open up because it’s not as narrow and the ceiling isn’t as low as in the hallway. I could talk about the Pope-Leighey house for days, but to see it in person is an amazing experience. 

    Picture of the Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria, VA. Plan a visit sometime!
Frank Lloyd Wright was known for his “organic architecture” as well as his concept of the “Usonian” style home. He believed that everyone deserved to live in a nice home, regardless of income. He was very resourceful when it came to building homes. He used locally available materials and unpainted/unstained wood to cut down on the cost to build homes ("Biography."). He also was known for solar hearing, natural cooling, and carports. Many of his residential homes were secluded in rural areas to give the family living there a sense of security. 

Wright used many of the principles and elements of design to achieve his great works. He made it a point for his creations to harmonize with the outdoors. He put a great emphasis of his love of nature with his large windows that allotted an abundance of natural light. Wright also used lines to create different illusions. The Pope-Leighey House is a great example of that. His use of horizontal lines made the home appear larger than what it is. He also emphasized the beauty in nature with the natural unstained wood. You can see this theme throughout many of his works.

Wright’s “Prairie School” style was also very popular. A good example of this style would be the Pope-Leighey house. It was a single story home with “low pitched roofs and low rows of casement windows” ("Biography."). He always made it a point to emphasis the beauty in nature. Other celebrated works of his include, but aren’t limited to, “Taliesin Fellowship”, “Fallingwaters Residence”, and the “Guggenheim Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art”.  


Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois (1893). Wright's first example of his "organic architecture style using "horizontal emphasis and expansion and open interior space".  Picture from here.                                                      

Taliensin Fellowship in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Picture from here.


 Fallingwaters in rural Southwestern PA; exterior and interior (1935). Constructed on top of a waterfall. Picture from here.

You can see harmony in this interior. The color scheme is very neutral. Again, Wright emphasizes his love of nature. Notice the pile of wood laying off to the side, as well as the fire place, brick wall, the rocks embedded in the floor, etc. You also can see various forms, like the cubes and the shere, and he also creates a balance on the shelf with the two cubes. This space makes me feel like I'm in a fancy log cabin. It gives me a sense of serenity and peace.


  Guggenheim Museum in NYC. Last work of Wright before his death in 1959. Picture from here.

Work Cited:
"Frank Lloyd Wright." Biography. A E Networks, n.d. Web. 31 Jan 2013. <>.

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