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Frank Lloyd Wright

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Frank Lloyd Wright is recognized as one of the greatest architects of all time. From his early career with the firm of Adler and Sullivan to his final projects, Wright produced a wide range of work numbering almost 1,000 structures, about 400 of which were built. His innovative designs include the prairie house and the Usonian house. The young architect's first work was nominally a Silsbee commission --the Hillside Home School built for his aunts in 1888 near Spring Green, Wisconsin. While construction was underway on the Hillside Home School, Wright went to work for the Chicago firm of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, working as a draftsman on the Auditorium Building, which, at the time of completion in 1890, was the largest building in Chicago. He remained with that firm until 1893, during which time he absorbed Sullivan's influence and designed several houses, including one for himself in Oak Park, Illinois that was constructed with Sullivan's financial assistance. "Moonlighting" on his own commissions led to a break with Sullivan in 1893, and Wright set up a separate practice. His first commissions were primarily for the design of private homes in the more affluent suburbs of Chicago and include the W. H. Winslow house of 1893-94 in River Forest, Illinois --considered by Wright to be his "first." Unfortunately, many of the buildings he designed around the turn of the century have not survived. (FranklloydWright.org) Through the turn of the century, Wright's distinctively personal style was evolving, and his work in these years foreshadowed his so-called "prairie style," Prairie houses were characterized by low, horizontal lines that were meant to blend with the flat landscape around them. Typically, these structures were built around a central chimney, consisted of broad open spaces instead of strictly defined rooms, and deliberately blurred the distinction between interior space and the surrounding terrain. Wright acclaimed "the new reality that is space instead of matter" and, about architectural interiors, said that the "reality of a building is not the container but the space within." The W.W. Willits house, built in Highland Park, Illinois in 1902, was the first house that embodied all the elements of the prairie style. His masterpiece of the prairie style is the Robie House, built in Chicago in 1909. Wright did not aspire simply to design a house, but to create a complete environment, and he often dictated the details of the interior. He designed stained glass, fabrics, furniture, carpet and the accessories of the house.
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