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The F.L. Wright StoryBy Riddhima Sharma
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It takes lot more than dedication, to reach above everything in this artistic field, and that is when, architecture rewards you back. There must be something more than creativity in that mind, which marked an edge, making Wright’s legacy and fame continue even after a century.
There’s a saying in South Africa: ‘A diamond gets formed out of coal when it gets put under pressure.’ Similar could be seen in case of Wright as well. His life was a roller coaster ride, with stories of turmoil behind each success. The irony of his life was that he has “lived twice” in an important sense.It is well known, that when his career was at the lowest during the
Twenty initial years of his life, were dedicated in redesigning the face of Chicago. It was under Wright’s distinctive vision that Chicago transformed from a frontier village to world’s largest city in 1893.
One thinks of Daniel Burnham’s White city, H. H. Richardson as a great influence upon him, and of his marvellous phrase “I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.”
He got his first experience, working as an architect under Joseph Lyman Silsbee, where he got to frame his earliest theories on design. It was from here he realized, Chicago's potential to be a crafted urban setting.
Later he moved on with, Adler & Sullivan where he worked as a draftsman initially. On recognizing his potential, he upgraded him from the position of a draftsman, to personal assistant, mentoring him and shaping his philosophies.
In 1893, Wright started his own practice in downtown Chicago and a studio in Oak Park, where his globally famous prairie style was developed.
His work shared influences from a group of pioneering, The New School of the Middle West, included George Elmslie, Myron Hunt, George Washington Maher, Dwight Perkins, William Gray Purcell, Thomas Talmadge, and Vernon Watson, as well as Wright’s later associates Marion Mahony, Walter Burley Griffin, William Drummond and Francis Byrne.
His work has always been uncompromisingly frontal, a face-forward presentation of his ideologies, simultaneously vulnerable and scrutinizing.
But his works set a bar for openness, frankness, and variability few lives could ever match; and so in his work, the surprise second life is actually the one lived off the page, refracted through decades of his astonishingly vivid lines.
As quoted by Frank Lloyd Wright Trust for Wright, the houses he witnessed around him, derived as they were from the styles of other countries and other cultures, and were unsuited to the American landscape.
“What was the matter with the kind of house I found on the prairie?” he asked, “Just for a beginning, let’s say that house lied about everything. It had no sense of Unity … To take any one of those so-called ‘homes’ away would have improved the landscape and cleared the atmosphere… My first feeling therefore had been a yearning for simplicity.”
“Father of the prairie style” sees multiple forms of himself distributed across Chicago and other places. He is also seen as one of the pioneers of modern architecture.
His fingerprints would never fade from all the lives he touched, through his works.
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