Art Research Paper on Frank Wright Lloyd

Art Research Paper on Frank Wright Lloyd

Frank Lloyd is known for his major architectural contributions. He invented the Prairie style used in the American residential designs. Many of the homes built today in America follow these styles. Lloyd has a background in civil engineering and has worked in the architectural sector since he was 20 years old. He started his own company in 1893 where began working on the concept of Prairie house. The first example of Prairie house was executed in 1984 in Illinois (Koning and Julie 295). The house was named “Winslow House”.

Design Context

People appreciate and are influenced by the works of Lloyd Wright when they understand fully the context of his work. Wright entered the design field when the dominating designs were those of neo-classical, colonial revival and Queen Anne architecture. These designs had considerable ornamental aspects and the interior designs were dominated by compartments with vertical elements.

Design Concept

The first design concept developed by Lloyd is the Prairie style. He worked on construction possibilities and utilized space in his designs. The houses were mainly free-standing and are characterized by the horizontal window bands and wide, overhanging roofs. The houses had a free plan around their central chimney. The buildings designed in this style have low proportions which relate to the surface. The roofs are gently sloping. The design mainly too into considerations the needs of residential properties (Koning and Julie 297).

In Prairie style, the houses have plenty of spaces which are separated by simple devices but not walls, partitions or door. The buildings are built in a way that integrates them with their surrounding environment. The integration with nature led Lloyd to come up with the organic architecture concept. The buildings have terraces and balconies extending in different directions which create protected outdoor spaces to the structure.

In the organic architecture, the idea is to promote unity and reflect nature in all the architectural designs. The concept uses living organisms in as its foundation. In living organism, harmony is achieved as part of the design in relation to the full organism; the parts are made to auger well with the organism’s functions; the character of the organism is decided by the form of the organism (Koning and Julie 301). When these concepts are used in building designs, they follow the principles of integrating the parts of the structure as a whole and the design of the whole is controlled by the design of parts.

The organic architecture uses the materials ways that promote preservation and respect for the natural materials. In other designs, the materials are used in a variety of ways including covering, painting, plastering and altering them to suit the taste or fashion. In organic architecture, the materials are used in their natural form. An example is when masses of stones are used as the natural features in a building. His houses were designed in a way that made it easier to manage movements around and through the building. This was referred to as the open plan. The buildings were designed to the smallest details in the design including the furniture, carpets and even the vases (Koning and Julie 306).

These buildings used extensive built-in furnishings, for example, the tables, closets, and cupboards which were mainly intended to reduce clutter within the houses. The built-in furnishings were intended to help the homeowners control and create more space. He was known to insist to his clients that the furnishings were placed in the same way as they appeared in his plans. He also said that that for those who failed to arrange the furnishings as he directed should do so when he intends to visit them. The objectives of his design were summarized into nine points.

The first objective was to reduce the number of partitioning in a house and create a room where all the rooms are enclosed in a single space. The second objective was to associate the whole building with its site. The floors were to be built away from the attractive areas of the room. Another objective is to ensure that there is no wastage of space and the available space should literary be human. He also intended to create harmony in all the openings of the buildings and to ensure that they occur as natural as possible. Elimination of combined material was another objective with Wright’s designs. He advocated for the use of single materials in any given space.

The plumbing, lighting, and heating were all supposed to be incorporated together to become part of the building (Koning and Julie 320). All the furnishings are supposed to be as organic architecture as possible. The last objective was to ensure no decorations made on the curves of his buildings. His early interaction with Froebel Gifts is also pointed out as the source of his great understanding of geometric prototypes and his great his of unity. Wright also showed a great admiration for the Japanese art in his early years. The influence of Japanese art is evidence in the strong horizontal lines he used in most of his designs

The Influence

Every artist has some form of influence that made them become what they are. According to Wright, he was influenced only by Adler and Sullivan, who were also his mentors. Sullivan had great influence on the Wright’s philosophy and motivated him to break away from the traditional ways of doing things (Levine n.p). He also had a lot to do with Wright’s designs which were aimed at having the architecture that best suit culture and landscape of the United States of America.

Robbie House

Fredrick C. Robbie house is an example of a house built using the prairie style. The house is structured to integrate parts with the whole with the evidence of its integration in the structure and site, exterior and interior, the furniture, architecture, and ornament. The building is considered by many scholars as one of the architectural masterpieces of the 20th century. It is the ideal expression of Wright’s Prairie style. The hallmarks of the Prairie design such as the harmony of the building and its organic form creates an eye-catching site to behold.

The house is in itself imposing no matter the angle that a person looks at it (Connors n.p).

The house is a clear statement of architectural departure from the traditional designs, given that it was built in 1908(Brooks’s n.p). The house has plenty of natural light, the ground floor hosts the children’s room and the residents could look around their neighborhood without violating the privacy of their neighbors. The request that Robbie had made to Wright could have been to have a fireproof house built at a reasonable price and should be built in a way that he could live in. In this building, Wright did everything to ensure that it was humanized (Brooks n.p).

Every space was to have some value to the human. Movements in and out of the building were made easier by a number of entry and exit points. The formal entry point was to enable the visitor to have a full view of the house before they go inside. It also enabled them to appreciate the design and share the opinions regarding the design with the homeowner. The beautiful terraces and balconies are characteristics of the entire Wright’s design. In this building, they have not only provided support but have also improved the aesthetic value of the place.

Each of these elements of the buildings is connected. The house has a horizontal elevation and the plan include configured sliding planes (Brooks n.p). This house has been promoted as one of the most innovative Prairie houses in the world. The exterior of the house has bands of limestone and brick which serve the purpose of anchoring the building into the ground. The eaves are overhanging and the roofs are dramatically cantilevered to shelter the residential property. The design has ensured that the house’s horizontality is reinforced correctly in each level. The Wright’s design achieves a balance of color and tone through the use of natural materials.

The iron-flecked bricks are well matched with the leaded glass windows that surround the building. The broad terraces and balconies ensure smooth flow between the exterior and interior space. The planters and the urns are structured in a way that ensures they flourish all year around, in all seasons.

The house has a large living space at the center of the house. The expansive living spaces are some of the masterpieces of the modern interior designs and architecture. The open plan has enough light that makes it very attractive even with its simplicity (Brooks n.p). The design has a dining space and a living space all under a single room separated by just a central chimney. The windows and doors are made of leaded glasses allowing light to enter the interior if the house. In the Robbie house, the Writes designs succeed in balancing the enclosed space and the transparency, shielding the clear boundaries between the interior space and the environment.

Guggenheim Museum

The museum is one of the structures designed by Lloyd, but it also his last. The museum is located in New York City and the nature of the city helped Wrights in designing a museum that was to save the city from its many distractions. The city’s nature also provided inspiration to the designer (Quinan 466). When one visits the museum, they would not fail to identify Lloyd’s attempt to use the principle of organic forms in the building. The inverted ziggurat is combined with the traditional approach of designing a museum. This design leads a number of interconnected rooms and the visitors must retrace their steps when they exit the rooms.

The continuous slope of the ramp provides the visitors with downward leisurely steps as they savor the beauty of the building. The sections are independent and self-contained, taking into consideration of designing parts as a whole. The sections host various galleries and the open rotunda enables visitors to see several sections from a distance. This makes it easy for the visitors to retrace their steps and to decide on the section they wish to visit. The open rotunda attracts the visitors’ eye to the light from the sky (Quinan 466). The works of art at the top are not visible to a person on the ground floor; they have to enjoy other attractions as they move up the building.

The designer’s vision for space is undoubtedly the work of a genius. The outer walls have concrete ramps that are in line with Wright’s idea of creating aesthetic through simplicity. Space enables people on the ramps to have a view of the art as well as see other people present in the floor they occupy.

The idea was to create a well ventilated and open place. Visitors could decide to use the stairs, or go up on an elevator then descend gradually as they enjoy the displayed art. This good use of space enables people who have a problem climbing stairs to avoid them on their way up. The spirals enable a person to experience the rotunda. The spirals create the sense of space change as a visitor moves around on the pace set by Wright.

The building is about space and about moving in space, a factor that Wright undoubtedly achieved (Quinan 469). The beautiful interior and exteriors rhyme well with the modern city of New York. The outer design obeys the principle of living organisms. It has the shape of the Nautilus shell with its round rumps.

This building follows the philosophies of Wright. The design is of simple beauty and the design is very detailed. Wright managed to achieve empathy between the building and the landscape in which it was built. It stands today as an example of an enduring relevance to the organic architecture philosophy (Quinan 476). The use of the natural light from the open rotunda is at the heart of Wright’s philosophy. This building was of the best design suitable to the American democratic culture and landscape.

The visitors, who take the elevator to the top before they start viewing the art, have the chance to see how the inside looks like the inside of a seashell. This is a good example of organic architecture that Wright promoted in all his designs. The interior is mainly dominated by the rotunda which is spiral in shape. The idea of the rotunda was to have one piece that continues from the top to the ground with ramp integration connecting it to the interior balcony and the exterior wall (Quinan 480). The spiral coils give way for more natural light to penetrate the building.


The Wrights designs have great significance in the modern society. There are many buildings in the modern towns that follow the same design. His work has also inspired many of architecture all over the world. Modernist architectures have cited his simple functional designs as a huge influence on their works. These designs should be preserved and passed to the young generations in architecture design classes.

The modern designers could borrow a leaf or two from Wright to enable them to produce much better designs. With the increasing climatic changes, houses must be built in a way that promotes harmony with the prevailing environment. They must be designed in ways that maximize their utility by providing favorable conditions to the owners. It should also be a challenge to all other designers to utilize.


Works Cited

Brooks, Harold Allen. The Prairie School: Frank Lloyd Wright and His Midwest Contemporaries. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972.

Connors, Joseph. The Robie House of Frank Lloyd Wright. University of Chicago Press, 1984.

Koning, Hank, and Julie Eizenberg. “The language of the prairie: Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie houses.” Environment and planning B: planning and design 8.3 (1981): 295-323.

Levine, Neil. The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Vol. 41. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Quinan, Jack. “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum: A Historian’s Report.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 52.4 (1993): 466-48