Frank Lloyd Wright introduced the word “organic” into his philosophy of architecture as early as 1908. It was an extension of the teachings of his mentor Louis Sullivan whose slogan “form follows function” became the mantra of modern architecture.
Although the word “organic” in common usage refers to something that has the characteristics of animals or plants, Wright’s organic architecture takes on a new meaning. It is not a style of imitation, because he did not claim to be building forms that were representative of nature. Instead, organic architecture is a reinterpretation of nature’s principles and guidelines as they have been filtered through the intelligent minds of men and women who could then build forms that are as natural as those produced by nature itself.
[ ] Organic architecture involves a respect for the properties of the materials—you don’t twist steel into a flower—and a respect for the harmonious relationship between the form, design, and the function of the building (for example, Wright rejected the idea of making a bank look like a Greek temple). Organic architecture is also an attempt to integrate the spaces into a coherent whole, it is a marriage between the site and the structure and a union between the context and the structure.
Throughout his 70-year career, Wright published articles, gave lectures, and had written many books. The philosophy of organic architecture, with the scope of its meaning mirrored in the developments of his various architectural projects, were consistently present in many of his works and developments. The core of this ideology was always the belief that architecture has an inherent relationship with both its site, and it’s time.
Wright published the book in 1957, two years before his death, A Testament, which was a philosophical summation of his architectural career. In an essay entitled “The New Architecture: Principles,” he put forth nine principles of architecture that reflected the development of his organic philosophy. The principles addressed ideas about the relationship of the human scale to the landscape, the use of new materials such as glass and steel to achieve more spatial architecture, and the development of a building’s architectural “character,” which was his answer to the notion of style.
This essay was adapted from Elman, Kimberly. “Frank Lloyd Wright and the Principles of Organic Architecture.” http://www.pbs.org/flw/legacy/essay1.html.
Throughout his 70-year career, Wright published articles, gave lectures, and had written many books.
Frank Lloyd Wright introduced