Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Frank Lloyd Wright: America's Greatest Architect

Frank Lloyd Wright built the spiraling Guggenheim museum and a spectacular headquarters for Johnson Wax. But America's most famous architect, who died in 1959 after a career that spanned more than seven decades, continues to be most fondly remembered for his houses.

His early residences, most built in then fast-growing industrial cities like Chicago and Buffalo, are known as "prairie houses" because their spreading terraces and strongly horizontal roof lines that extended to form deep porches made the houses look ready to sail across the waving grasses of the Midwest.

Wherever they were built -- cantilevering over a stream in western Pennsylvania, set into a hillside above Los Angeles -- they fit into their settings and those sites enriched the designs. The houses seamlessly united indoors and out, while their flowing indoor spaces made sense to Americans whose lifestyles became more informal and leisure oriented. Just about every well-designed house today is indebted to the insights of Frank Lloyd Wright.

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