Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structure, 532 of which were completed. Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and awesome facts about Frank Lloyd Wright.
1. His philosophy was best exemplified by Fallingwater, which has been called, “the best all-time work of American architecture.”
2. His creative period spanned more than 70 years.
3. Wright was the pioneer of what came to be called the Prairie School movement of architecture and he also developed the concept of the Usonian home in Broadacre City, his unique vision for urban planning in the United States.
4. In addition to his houses, Wright designed original and innovative offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, museums and other structures.
5. He often designed interior elements for these buildings as well, including furniture and stained glass.
6. Wright wrote 20 books and many articles and was a popular lecturer in the United States and in Europe.
7. Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as, “the greatest American architect of all time.”
8. His colorful personal life often made headlines, notably for leaving his first wife, Catherine Lee “Kitty” Tobin for Mamah Borthwick Cheney, the murders at his Taliesin estate in 1914, his tempestuous marriage and divorce with second wife Miriam Noel, and his relationship with Olga Lazovich Hinzenburg, whom he would marry in 1928.
9. His first job was working in the office of Joseph Lyman Silsbee, the architect who had designed a church where his uncle preached.
10. When he was less than 20 years old, and not yet graduated from school, he traveled to Chicago to fulfill his dream of being an architect.
11. Shortly after working with Silsbee, Wright left for a position as an apprentice in Adler and Sullivan’s office. The first building which Wright worked on for Louise Sullivan was the Auditorium Building, allowing him to establish a name both within the office and across the country.
12. At the age of 22, Wright decided to buy land in Oak Park to build the house where he lived with his first wife, Catherine. To pay for the house, Wright had Sullivan offer him a 5 year contract and a $5,000 prepayment.
13. Between Wright and Sullivan, a close teacher-disciple relationship ensued, which was broken in 1893 when Sullivan fired Wright after learning that he had been taking personal work in secret.
14. W.H. Winslow, a wrought-iron ornament maker, who’s decorations were used by Sullivan in his buildings, commissioned a young Wright to design the first of his prairie houses.
15. The Winslow house was the first in a series of houses that defined Wright’s organic style, characterized by having a strong link with their natural environment and placing the staircase and fireplace the heart of the dwelling.
16. Wright often used his client’s homes as test laboratories, experimenting with styles such as English tutor, derived from the Scottish arts and crafts, or the Mayan geometry of Yucatan temples.
17. In 1893, Daniel Burnham of the renowned Burnham and Root studio offered Wright a partnership in his firm. Burnham offered Wright three years of training in Paris, where he could reside with his wife and six children, and two more years in Rome to learn from the classics.
18. At the age of 40, Wright had instigated a new style in domestic architecture, putting an end to wasted attics and damp basements.
19. Japan became a recurring destination for Wright, who worked in the acquisition and resale of Japanese prints, offering a relief to the financial problems that constantly afflicted them.
20. One of Wright’s passions was to spend time with his yellow convertible, a Stoddard Dayton that he himself had to build from scratch.
21. Wright was married three times and fathered seven children, four sons and three daughters. He also adopted Svetlana Milanoff, the daughter of his third wife, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright.
22. One of Wright’s sons, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr., known as Lloyd Wright, was also a notable architect in Los Angeles.
23. Lloyd Wright’s son, and Wright’s grandson, Eric Lloyd Wright, is currently an architect in Malibu, California, where he has a practice of mostly residences, but also civic and commercial buildings.
24. Another son and architect, John Lloyd Wright, invented Lincoln Logs in 1918, and practiced extensively in the San Diego area.
25. John’s daughter, Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, was an architect in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
26. Elizabeth Wright was the mother of Christine, an interior designer in Connecticut, and Catherine, an architecture professor at the Pratt Institute.
27. The house that Weight designed for his son David Samuel Wright and his wife Gladys was rescued from demolition and given to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.
28. The Oscar-winning actress Anne Baxter was Wright’s granddaughter. Baxter was the daughter of Catherine Baxter, a child born of Wright’s first marriage.
29. His step-daughter, Svetlana, and her son Daniel died in an automobile accident in 1946. Her widower, William Wesley Peters, was later briefly married to Svetlana Alliluyeva, the youngest child and only daughter of Joseph Stalin.
30. At the beginning of the century, popular magazines began to publish Wright’s homes and a German publisher became interested in his complete work. Chicago newspapers were also becoming interested in his private life, publishing controversial news about his infidelities with married women.