Frank Lloyd Wright was born on June 8, 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin. He received his training at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and worked for J.L Silsbee and then Louis Sullivan in Chicago before beginning his independent practice of architecture in 1893.
The young architect's first work was nominally a Silsbee commission --the Hillside Home School built for his aunts in 1888 near Spring Green, Wisconsin. While construction was underway on the Hillside Home School, Wright went to work for the Chicago firm of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, working as a draftsman on the Auditorium Building, which, at the time of completion in 1890, was the largest building in Chicago. He absorbed Sullivan's influence and designed several houses, including one for himself in Oak Park, Illinois that was constructed with Sullivan's financial assistance.
Wright’s architectural vision sought to link the individual to the environment. Wright’s prairie houses reflected this vision, with the use of long, low horizontal lines and native materials. Examples of Wright’s work during this period include the Robie House in Chicago, the Martin House in Buffalo, New York and Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois.
In 1909 Wright went to Europe and worked on two portfolios of his designs that would profoundly influence other architects and bring Wright international acclaim. In 1911 Wright returned to the United States and began building Taliesin, his home in Wisconsin. Although fire would damage Taliesin twice, each time Wright rebuilt the structure and continued to live and work there. During the 1930s Wright and his wife established a school for architecture students at Taliesin called the Taliesin Fellowship.
In the mid 1930s Wright designed the S.C. Johnson Wax Administration Building in Racine Wisconsin, Fallingwater in Pennsylvania and Jacobs I, the first of his Usonian homes that featured pre-fabricated walls, radiant heat, open floor plans and carports. He also designed a residence, Wingspread, near Racine for Herbert Johnson of the SC Johnson Wax company. His Usonian period, which was to denominate most of his career, comprised open plan structures which were theoretically inexpensive to build. It was Wright’s attempt to design a more “democratic” architecture for the American people.
The unforgiving Wisconsin winters spurred Wright to begin construction of Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1937. This desert laboratory served Wright well for more than 20 years. He created and tested many design ideas at Taliesin West, and began working on plans for the Monona Terrace Civic Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
In 1943 Wright received a commission to design the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Ground was not broken for the museum until 1956 the year Price Tower was completed. During that same year, Wright wrote a book, The Story of the Tower documenting the Price Tower and its construction.
In August 1954 he completed the estate designed for Harold C. Price, Jr., Hillside, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Hillside is a large L-plan with a two-story living room. A balcony off the master bedroom overlooks this space. There is a separate, formal dining room and adjacent to it, perhaps Wright’s largest workspace. A hipped roof blends house and sky. The house went through considerable revision and an addition, a playroom by William Wesley Peters. From the original playroom to terrace doors is 114 feet of interior space; the unit module is a 3-foot square.
Wright designed more than 1100 projects during his lifetime and is regarded as one of America’s most influential architects. See Wright related products available at the Wright Place Museum Store.