Frank Lloyd Wright

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Frank Lloyd Wright

Editado: Dez 16, 2023, 5:58 pm

What do you make of Frank Lloyd Wright's An Autobiography?

Here's my review on LibraryThing:

Frank Lloyd Wright began work on An Autobiography at Taliesin in 1925. His wife, Olgivanna Hinzenberg Wright, encouraged him to put his thoughts on paper. Wright stated, “But for her this book were never written.”

The book was expanded in 1943. Olgivanna was an editor and proofreader of his work.

Kyle Dockery, collections manager at Taliesin, stated that Wright most likely wrote his drafts by hand in his drafting studio at Taliesin. Either Olgivanna or his secretary, Gene Masselink, typed his documents after he wrote them.

Dockery says that Wright had a desk in his bedroom at Taliesin. “He was a prolific napper,” Dockery says. Wright often woke up in the middle of the night with an idea. He wrote it down in his bedroom.

Wright commented about his happy, busy days working at home: “Taliesin life at this time, not too late, is one continuous round of movement, usually in happy rhythms ending in sound sleep for all…only to begin again with play and laughter at sunrise, settling down after breakfast into serious work that is play too – for we love the work we do, even when we are all adding tired to tired and adding it again.”

He also valued education. “All this family was imbued with the idea of education as salvation,” he stated. “Education it was that made man out of the brute and saved him from the beast. Education it was…that unlocked the stores of beauty to let it come crowding in on every side at every gate.”

Wright made sure that his children received a good education. He valued music and ensured that each learned a musical instrument. He sent his female and male children to colleges and universities.

Wright found truth sacred. His family motto was “Truth Against the World.” On a plaque at his Oak Park, Ill., home, he wrote, “Truth Is Life.”

“I know that recounting facts does not constitute truth,” he wrote. “Truth lies deeper. It is something we can feel but seldom touch with facts. So I am better off to have got the facts on record.”

Olgivanna Hinzenberg Wright was also an author. She had a newspaper column in the Capital Times, Madison, Wis. She wrote at Taliesin and did not have an office at the newspaper. She obtained this job because the editor was their friend. The publisher was an advocate of Wright’s work on Madison’s Monona Terrace.

Olgivanna most likely wrote her books at Taliesin West in Arizona. She has an autobiography that is very different from Wright’s. It was posthumously published.

Regarding his Oak Park, Ill., neighborhood, Wright noted in An Autobiography, Oak Park was called “Saint’s Rest.” The community of families and church workers made his mother feel at home. “The quiet village looked much like Madison to mother,” he wrote.

Wright’s father, a former preacher, taught at a conservatory in Madison. After a brief sojourn in New England, Wright lived and worked on the farm of his uncle and aunt. He escaped to Chicago and began to apprentice as an architect. Wright’s mother moved from Madison to be closer to her son.

Wright reflected on the Queen Anne architecture in the neighborhood while taking a walk one day. The homes, built on tiny lawns, featured a masonry foundation, wood walls with shingles or siding, decorative brackets, bay windows, and gabled roofs. “Simplicity,” Wright wrote, “was as far from this scrap-pile as the pandemonium of the barnyard is far from music. But easy enough for the architect.”

Wright stated, “I had an idea that the horizontal planes in buildings, those planes parallel to the earth, identify themselves with the ground – make the building belong to the ground. I began putting this idea to work.”

Wright’s homes were designed with low ceilings to fit someone about 5'8" – the size of Frank Lloyd Wright. Instead of rooms side by side, he designed a large room with a central fireplace, and dining, kitchen, and sleeping areas around it. Wright made furniture and decorative objects for his homes with the overall design aesthetic of “organic simplicity.”

Unlike Louis Sullivan, his former boss, who believed that “form follows function,” Wright believed that “form and function are one.” Buildings, he wrote, favored “the expressive flow of continuous surface.”

Wright had a studio in his home at Oak Park and worked from there until 1895. He converted it into bedrooms in 1895 to accommodate his six children by Catherine Tobin Wright.

What else is in An Autobiography?

Wright comments on working as a child on the farm and spending time with cows. He moved from place to place until he found a home in Chicago. He lived and worked there for many years, dividing his time for a while between Oak Park and his hometown of Spring Green.

Wright tells many stories about his work years and the homes he designed for his clients. Overall, this is a fascinating book, surprisingly well-written for someone with an architectural mind.

Dez 16, 2023, 6:50 pm

Wright's autobiography need to be taken with an entire pillar of salt.

Dez 16, 2023, 10:32 pm

>1 KayFDavis:

Wright’s homes were designed with low ceilings to fit someone about 5'8" – the size of Frank Lloyd Wright.

No, just no. Wright designed his buildings to create a feeling of compression followed by release. So entry spaces tended to be more dimly lit, narrower, with lower ceilings, and then you move to spaces with higher ceilings, more light, and more openness. Robie House, for instance, has an entry hall that is 6'10", but the living and dining room ceilings upstairs are significantly higher. The living room at the Hollyhock House is over 13', not "low" by any standards. And the Louis Penfield House in Ohio, built for a man who was 6'8", definitely did not have low ceilings!

Wright wasn't particularly short; his height was average for a male born in the late 1860s. People forget that.