Today is the 144th birthday of arguably the most prominent architect the United States has ever produced: Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright’s influence has been so profound that his striking houses have become part of our collective memory. In fact, the horizontal lines and low roofs are so familiar to us that it is hard to remember just how groundbreaking they were when they were originally designed.
Think about this: When the Robie House was designed,
the neighbors gawked from the sidewalks dressed like this, hats, bustles, corsets and all:
When Wright designed his masterpiece, Falling Water, with its remarkable integration into its natural surroundings and shocking walls of glass,
a visitor might’ve pulled up in a Jaguar that had yet to progress past this:
It is rare that one man has so much influence over the world of architecture that it actually makes us forget what things were like before. Wright’s designs are as striking and relevant today as they were blasphemous and new in the early 1900s. Oh how I love those mold-breakers.
So Mr. Wright, I wish you the happiest of birthdays and thank you for the way that you changed how we envisioned what a home could be. And in the ever-wise words of those old Bards Simon & Garfunkel in their ode to FLW, I leave you all with these lyrics:
Architects may come and
Architects may go and
Never change your point of view.
When I run dry
I stop awhile and think of you