Frank Lloyd Wright

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Everyone's life and work is shaped and directed by outside influences. To what extent is this true in terms of the life and work of Frank Lloyd Wright? Illustrate your answer where appropriate.

As with all of us, Frank Lloyd Wright's ethics, views, and creativity were a direct reflection of his environment, primarily in his early childhood and during his upbringing as a teenager. His philosophy of "organic architecture" stemmed from his initial perceptions of nature and geometry, which in time grew to have the most dramatic impact on architectural styling in the decades to follow. His family motto "Truth against the World" led him to rebel against the norm and dramatically change the face of architecture forever.

His mother was an enormous influence on him, even before his birth she had decided that he would become a great architect. She invested in some "Froebel Blocks" when he was very young which were designed to associate different shapes with symbolic meanings.

This was an approach later used by Wright when he was to argue that certain geometric forms symbolised human ideas, moods, and sentiment. He preferred his motifs to be highly abstract and geometrical which do not look like the natural forms they represent, they are merely the essence of them. Some well known examples are the stained glass, the cast concrete, the copper plant motifs associated with certain of Wright's buildings.

Fig. 1 The "Tree of Life" at the Darwin D. Martin house in Buffalo, NY (1904).

But it was not only his mother who made a significant contribution to his early development. As a teenager he was sent to work on his uncle's farm where he learned to master the technique of adding "tired to tired and then working more". Here he learned to work hard...