Frank Lloyd Wright Versus Takao Akiyama Architecture Essay


Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959) - one of the massive architects in USA history. For more than seventy years of his career, he has done for the development of modern architecture, more than any other artist in the West. Wright has put forward the principle of organic architecture - that is integrity and is an inseparable part of the human environment. He formulated the idea of continuity of architectural space, contrasted with articulation and underline selected parts in classical architecture. Based on this idea so-called "open plan" method is among the means used by all the currents of contemporary architecture. However, the influence Wright goes far beyond the founder and current, so-called organic architecture.

Image 1 Froebel's blocks

Wright was born in June 8, 1867 in Richland-Center, Wisconsin, USA, in the family of William Russell Wright, a music teacher and church leader, and Anna Lloyd Wright, a teacher from a famous family in Wisconsin, Lloyd. He was raised in Unitarian church canons. As a child played a lot with "developing" blocks "Kindergarten" designed by Friedrich Froebel (see image 1). These were geometrical shapes from which could be assembled compositions in different combinations and three-dimensional form. And finally, the books of Ruskin and Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc influenced the future of the architect, probably more than two years spent in the engineering college of the University of Wisconsin, which he failed to finish. Wright's parents divorced in 1885 because of the Wright's father inability to support the family.

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Wright was educated at home, not attending school. In 1885 he joined the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin. In university, he works part-time assistant to a local civil engineer. Wright left the university without receiving a degree.

In 1887 he moved to Chicago, where he settled in the architectural firm of Joseph Lyman Silsbee, an adherent of eclecticism. A year later he joined the firm of Adler and Sullivan, headed by well-known ideologue of "Chicago School" L. Sullivan. Since 1890 company has entrusted Wright all the projects on construction of residential real estate. But few years later, in 1893 Wright had to leave the company when Sullivan finds out that Wright designs houses on the side.

In 1893 Wright founded his own firm in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park. By 1901 he has 50 projects in his list of work.

Wright's basic principles

In the architecture Wright sought to embody an idea which importance goes beyond the specific type of building. Implementation of this idea was connected with the study of traditional Japanese architecture, which Wright became interested in the 1890's. Japanese house was as supreme example of how the designing should eliminate not only unnecessary, but even more, to exclude unimportant. In the American house he excluded everything what is trivial and confusing. Wright did even more. In simply functional elements that often were unnoticed, he opened a previously hidden power of expressiveness, as well as the subsequent generation of architects has revealed the hidden strength of expression in design. Wright reduced to a minimum number of necessary parts of the building and the number of individual rooms in the house, forming an enclosed space as subdivided so that the whole was permeated the air and freely view, giving a feeling of unity.

Fallingwater is one of the most noted Wright's projects (see image 2). It's a country villa, built in a forest near the creek. The basic principle of constructive and spatial structure of the construction consists in the fact that overlaps are reinforced concrete cantilever slabs protruding from the central massif in the different directions and at the different levels.

Image 2 Fallingwater house, exterior

The main part of the area of the first floor is a large common room, which is being freely connected, according to the principle of flowing space, the dining room, kitchen and hall, which is connected through abundant windows and multiple glass doors to the outside terrace space, as well as through stairs with a creek at the bottom (see image 3).

Image 3 Fallingwater house, interior, living room

Interior and external environment are not separated, in addition to that for the smooth visual communication there are used large planes of glazing, outer space penetrates between the protruding consoles of overlap slabs, and the space continues outside on the terrace.

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As in other houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, the texture of the walls inside is the same as the outside. The interior the wood paneling mitigates the severity of stone and concrete. Glazing always protected from the sun. Above the entrances are installed cantilever canopies, solid or lattice.

The main Wrights principles were:

Tie the building as a whole with its site by making it a horizontal length, and underscores the planes which are parallel to the ground, but not to occupy the best part of the plot with the building, leaving that the best part for its use, for the functions associated with house life.

Do not make a room the box, and the house - the other box, do not turn the walls into a screen, enclosing the space. Ceilings, floors and cladding screens must wash out each other, forming one common enclosure of a space having a minimum unit. Make all proportion of the house closer to a human scale, a constructive solution with the lowest consumption level and the most appropriate use of materials, and the whole - most suitable for living in it. Apply straight lines and sleek shape.

Extract the foundation of the house, containing the unsanitary basement of the earth and place it completely over the earth, turning it into a lower cap for the residential part of the house, make a foundation in the form of a low stone platform on which to stand the house.

All the necessary openings to the outside or inside, aligned with human proportions and place them in the scheme of the building naturally - whether in a single form, or in groups.

Delete the combination of different materials and, wherever possible, seek to use the same material in construction. Do not to use ornaments that do not follow from the nature of the material, so that the building would clearly express the place in which being lived and the general character of the building would be an evidence of this.

Takao Akiyama principles

Nowadays the most claimed Ethno Style ­is the Japanese, or as it is often called, Japanese minimalism, noted for its desire for simplicity and functionality. Takao Akiyama is a Japanese architect known for his ability to fit the single-family house into urban surroundings of Japan cities. Japan came to minimalism not only in the pursuit of aesthetics, but it was a consequence of national characteristics and life in a rather capricious climate, with the constant threat of earthquakes. Japanese house is often a part of the garden, so the continuation of traditional interior always has been a landscape, which is one of the principles of Takao Akiyama architecture. In geographically small, overpopulated country especially appreciated is the space, so the internal structure of the premises - the usual furniture and other attributes of the house is minimized. The absence of superfluous things is the basic rule of minimalism. Daylight in the house is the main source of lighting.

Fu-1 house is built in the outskirts of the city which has a stunning view of the fields and mountains (see image 4). Akiyama wanted to face a simple idea of designing a house - to create a shelter that protects from different weather manifestations.

Image 4 Fu-1 house, exterior

"The entire site is wrapped with the roof, wall or floor, and only the center court is open up to create "eave" effect. It has reinforced concrete structure and there is no a wall on the side of the yard, therefore there are supporting iron columns which also work as window frames.

All the elements are directly painted onto concrete with water-and-heat-proofing material. Only the floor does not have the heat-proofing function because of the floor heating system in it."(Fu-1 house, Takao Akiyama)

Takao Akiyama believes in a simplicity that why he doesn't use many colors and textures in his designs, which another design principle. Main color is white and the structure material is concrete.

"Interior also don' have too much intensions. In general, a house has a living room for relaxing, a kitchen for cooking, and a bedroom for sleeping, meaning the architect limits the usage. Interior measurement is based on the 3 meters width which the inhabitants can feel the length of the house rather than width and that also minimum number people can freely occupy. From the entrance to each room to the bathroom at the end, there can be seen a center yard at any moment on the right. For the smooth transition from one room to another, there are no walls in the direction to prevent the stream. All the doors are sliding doors and foldable doors except the one in bathroom - bathroom has glass door." (Fu-1 house, Takao Akiyama)

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There is a plenty of space in the house (see image 5). With the help of screens, curtains, drops in the floor, sliding partitions, etc. house can be divided into "functional areas". Screens make space of the house light and transparent. By rearranging screens, the can be updated the interior though every day.

Image 5 Fu-1 house, interior, dining room

All the elements of the interior have a concise, geometrical shape. A characteristic difference of a minimalism is the absence of decor and extra accessorizing.

Image 6 Fu-1 house, interior, living room

There is use of simple natural finishing materials: concrete, glass, metal, wood or plaster. Complete lack of decor creates an increased demand for materials, as in this case, pieces of furniture themselves become ornaments. Furniture and wall surface is smooth, without texture (see image 6 and 7).

Image 7 Fu-1 house, interior, bathroom

"The sequence of eye movement to the exterior is as important as to the interior. There are several tricks that some points catch your eye to outside. Standing by the kitchen, on the left you can see the neighbor's garden and on the other side you can see the stairs to the rooftop and the small rock yard under the stairs. This is also can be a pond which brings cooler view in the summer. Also there is couple more of those spots in the outside. When you enter the house, you can see the trees of neighbors." (Fu-1 house, Takao Akiyama)


Frank Lloyd Wright was a big adherent of Japanese architecture, which style is established on harmony with nature. He believed that house should eliminate all unnecessary and interior should be a continuation of the exterior. A like Wright Akiyama admires simplicity.

Both architects used a reinforced concrete as a main building material of their houses. Both houses are the construction of the rectangular plains going in the different directions and at the different levels creating a volume which is a living space.

Both architects consider that the inner grace of the space is in that little that is in the house. In both interiors there are only necessary pieces of furniture which create an atmosphere of a home that contributes meditation, serenity, relaxation from the cares and troubles of the outside world. An image of the house, that both architects built, testifies that his master is wise, is not subject to the bustle and chaos of the outside world, is able to see beauty in the everyday and admire it. It's the house where reigns the void, air and light.

Bibliography list:

Early years, About Frank Lloyd Wright, Retrieved 23 October 2010 from

The Future of Architecture,1953, Frank Lloyd Wright, Horizon Edition DJ

Wright's career, Retrieved 23 October 2010 from

Fu-1 House, Takao Akiyama, Retrieved 23 October 2010 from

Image Sources:

Froebel's blocks, Retrieved 23 October 2010 from

Fallingwater house, exterior, Retrieved 23 October 2010 from

Fallingwater house, interior, living room, Retrieved 23 October 2010 from

Fu-1 house, exterior, Retrieved 23 October 2010 from

Fu-1 house, interior, dining room, Retrieved 23 October 2010 from

Fu-1 house, interior, living room, Retrieved 23 October 2010 from

Fu-1 house, interior, bathroom, Retrieved 23 October 2010 from