Magazine article Children's Technology and Engineering

Discovering the Amazing World of Frank Lloyd Wright's Designs

Magazine article Children's Technology and Engineering

Discovering the Amazing World of Frank Lloyd Wright's Designs

Article excerpt

Frank Lloyd Wright for Kids: His Life and Ideas

Kathleen Thorne-Thomsen

Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Review Press, Inc. (1994).

ISBN: 978-1-55652-207-9 $16.95 USD


Design is one of the crucial elements humans possess that separates us from most other species on this planet. Unlike animals, human beings have the ability to create, execute, or construct numerous objects according to plans. Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) is one of the premier designers and architects of magnificent and unique structures in recent history. In the book Frank Lloyd Wright for Kids: His Life and Ideas, students can discover interesting facts about FLW and complete related enjoyable and creative design activities.

According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's website and numerous books written about him, Frank Lloyd Wright was named the greatest American architect of all time in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects. Born merely two years after the end of the American Civil War, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was witness to the astonishing and rapid changes that swept the globe, altering the way humans perceived and approached the world of design and architecture. Unlike many of his peers, who accepted such deviations from the norm with uncertainty, Wright welcomed and embraced the many changes made possible by the Reconstruction and Industrial Revolution. He eagerly began an architectural revolution. Inspired by the American spirit, people's ingenuity, his own love of nature, and the opportunities in front of him, he set out to create structures unlike any others throughout the country or the world. His primary goal was to create an architecture that addressed the individual physical, social, and spiritual needs of the modern American citizen.

Twenty-five Wright projects, including the Rorida Southern College campus (p. 24), have been designated National Historic Landmarks, and ten have been named to the tentative World Heritage Site list. Such recognition-in addition to the international honors he received during his lifetime, the dozens of major exhibitions that have been mounted, and the multitude of books and articles that have been written about his life and work-confirm Wright's critical contribution to architectural history and the architectural profession at the same time that we draw upon his legacy to find inspired design and architectural trends for the future.

To Wright, architecture was not just about the buildings he designed and built, it was about nurturing the lives of the people protected by them and sustaining the environment around them. What were needed were environments to inspire and offer repose to the inhabitants. Wright was often quoted as calling his architecture "organic" and described his architectural masterpieces as the epitome of the "great living creative spirit, which from generation to generation, from age to age, proceeds, persists, creates, according to the nature of man and his circumstances as they both change." In the process of creating unique pieces of architecture across the United States and around the world, Frank Lloyd Wright transformed the way we live.

Wright's inspiration was found in Nature, which he spelled with a capital "N," giving it presence, personality, and life-as in a proper name or noun. Nature, as he called it, was not only the obvious features of the environment or natural surroundings, but the abundant unequalled spirit of it all in harmony. He wrote:

Using this word Nature...I do not of course mean that outward aspect which strikes the eye as a visual image of a scene strikes the ground glass of a camera, but that inner harmony which penetrates the outward form...and is its determining character; that quality in the thing that is its significance and it's Life for us,-what Plato called (with reason, we see, psychological if not metaphysical) the "eternal idea of the thing."

Many people find inspiration in nature and imitate the way things occur naturally. …

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