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Frank Lloyd Wright

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Frank Lloyd Wright was one of America’s greatest architects, but one question continues after his death: how much did Japanese culture influence his style and design philosophy? There has been much debate and literature written about how Wright cultivated his craft. He never gave credit to any influence and was also very critical of other architects’ work. I believe that several factors contributed to the incredible talent of this self- absorbed, egotistical artist. In 1887, Wright started work for the architectural firm of Adler and Sullivan. Louis Sullivan designed the first skyscraper, the Wainwright Building (Hart 10) in St. Louis. Sullivan’s style was form follows function, giving more importance to the interior of a building than the exterior. Being part of new ideas and styles in architecture was very intriguing to Wright. Sullivan was a great influence to Wright and helped shape his style. After the Civil War, there was a shift of wealth in this country from a couple of millionaires to many. This allowed more people to have expendable income and a culture began of buying large homes and the collectables to fill them. When Frank Lloyd Wright was 26, he attended the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago which brought “Japonism” (Puechler) as a cultural phenomenon to America. It was here that Wright found a common connection between his philosophy and that of Japanese culture. He liked clean lines, low-rise symmetry, the union of interior and exterior, and simplicity. Wright started collecting wood block prints (ukiyo-e) (Puechler) from Japan. Sometimes, he made more money reselling these prints than on his building designs. This interest in the Japanese culture was a restart for his life and career. It also began to shape his concept of “organic architecture”. After leaving Adler and Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright began designing homes.…...

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