Organic Design by Frank Lloyd Wright
Essay on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Organic Architecture
American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, borrowed the word ‘Organic’ from his mentor Louis Sullivan. Wright began expressing his own vision of how organic nature applies to design. He tried to define ‘Organic Architecture’ in words, but the truest expression will always be in his designs and how they relate to the landscape.
Taliesin East & West
Frank Lloyd Wright formed the Taliesin Fellowship dedicated to organic design, education, and spiritual theory and practice. It later evolved into the FLW Foundation, and Taliesin Architects continued after Wright’s death. Wright built two small Communities based on his designs and theories. Taliesin East was built first on 600 acres in Wisconsin. Then Taliesin West was built on 600 acres in Arizona. Both developments respected the landscape by leaving much of it natural, while fitting in artistic architecture using site features. Both remained in a constant state of evolution during Wright’s lifetime.
Fallingwater was a unique residence designed by Wright which show-cases his Organic Architecture. The natural organic landscape meets his organic designs above a waterfall. I was awarded a student residency there in high school, and every day for weeks we went down to the cold waters of Bear Run to wake up and begin our sketches and studies. Inside the house, concrete rests on stone, and the woods are seen through generous windows. That house has more of a give and take between the architecture and the landscape (including the water) than most other modern buildings in the World.
Broadacre City was designed to show how various types of buildings should be organized in urban planning, using Organic Architecture. The hypothetical City was 4 square miles and published first in his Disappearing City, 1932 and continued to evolve until his death in 1959. One important rule was that the tallest buildings (sky-scrapers) should have enough open space around them so their shadows do not fall upon other buildings. Another factor was giving most residents one acre to build their own houses based on Usonian models. It was an effort to take the new concept of suburbs to a Utopian extreme by furthering the concept of combining rural and urban while striving to keep the best of both. Broadacre decentralized urban design, and lay grid upon rural country; advocating that the desire for suburban life be fully granted. Mass transportation would still be available at stations, but freedom was maintained through the use of individual vehicles on the roads and in the air.