Frank Lloyd Wright Biography Architecture Essay


Frank Lincoln Wright was born on June 8th, 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin. When he was still a toddler, his father got a new job as a church minister in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Frank's mother had wanted him to become an architect, so when Frank was nine, in 1876, his mother bought him Froebel Blocks, (which later helped him design buildings). At the age of ten, Frank's family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where his father opened a music school (He quit his job as a minister). Frank and both of his sisters loved music just as much as their father. During the summer after he turned eleven, Frank started to work on his mother's family's farm. A typical day for him would be wake up at four in the morning, feed the pigs, milk the cows, weed the gardens, and work in the fields. The work was so hard; Frank tried to run away twice. His Grandfather always caught him though. To Frank, life wasn't that bad on the farm, because he loved nature. He liked to find the shapes of his Froebel blocks on the Wisconsin Prairie. When he was fourteen, his parents divorced. He never saw his father after that. Because of this, he changed his middle name to Lloyd in order to honor his mother's family, the Lloyd-Joneses. After finishing high school in 1886, Frank went to the University of Wisconsin to study civil engineering, since there weren't any colleges for architecture in the Midwest.

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Wright didn't like his classes, so after a few semesters, he left the University of Wisconsin to find a job in Chicago. After a few days in Chicago, he found a job with J.L. Silsbee's Architectural firm. Wright quit his job at J.L Silsbee's Architectural Firm before even working there for a year and got a new job as a draftsman at the office of Louis Sullivan. Wright used Sullivan as a role model because Sullivan didn't design buildings in the traditional Victorian style. He designed real American architecture.

At the age of 21, Wright married Catherine Tobin. He designed a house for Catherine and himself on land given to him by Louis Sullivan. Within a year, the couple had their first child, Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. When 1903 rolled around, that family of three turned into a family of eight.

Sometimes guests would visit the Wright's house and ask Frank to design them a house. Wright would answer yes, without Louis Sullivan knowing. When Sullivan finally figured this out, he told Wright that he could only design buildings with Sullivan's architectural firm. Because of this, Wright quit his job and started his own business. By 1901, Wright had completed around fifty of his own designs!

One night at a party, an architect by the name of Daniel Burnham made an offer to Wright to go to study architecture in Europe for six years. In the offer, when Wright came back, he would receive an important job. Though it was a great deal, Wright turned it down because he did not want to design in the European style. He wanted to continue designing real American Architecture.

In 1908, the inventor Frederick Robie came to Wright asking for a house that had a lot of space, was fire safe, and had a good view of Chicago. He also wanted a play room for his kids and a couple garages for his motorcars. By 1909, Wright had created a prairie style house that met all the requirements Robie had thought of.

One night, Wright met a woman named Martha Cheney. He separated from Catherine Tobin, and traveled to Europe with Cheney. When he arrived back in America, he designed a studio for himself in Oak Park, Illinois. He called it Taliesin.

While Wright was in Chicago on August 15, 1914, Martha Cheney and her two children were at Taliesin. One of Wright's workers, Julian Carlton killed Cheney, her children and four others. Soon after, Wright fixed his studio.

On November 13, 1922, Wright and Catherine Tobin finally divorced. Soon after, Wright married Miriam Noel on November 19, 1923. The marriage didn't last very long, and on August 26, 1927, the two divorced.

During the Great Depression, Wright didn't have very many clients. Instead, he spent his time writing an autobiography and giving speeches on organic architecture. He also opened an architectural school with his third wife Olga Milanoff, which he called the Taliesin Fellowship.

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When 1934 came along, Wright met with the parents of one of his students, Edgar Kaufmann Jr. They wanted a new home. Wright told them about building the house above a waterfall in Bear Run, Pennsylvania. When the Kaufmanns agreed, Wright began to design this house. In 1937, he invited the Kaufmanns to his studio. After a quick tour, he showed them the house designs. The Kaufmanns liked the designs and the house was built. It is called Falling Water and is probably Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous design.

Wright wanted a new studio in 1937. He designed a studio in Scottsdale, Arizona. This also was his home with Olga Milanoff until he died.

April 8, 1959, was the final day of Wright's life. After 72 years of working as an architect, Frank Lloyd Wright left behind over 500 buildings like Falling Water, the Robie House, Taliesin, and the Guggenheim Museum.