Wright's ultimate purpose was to highlight the architectural "organism's" interconnectedness with its surroundings, and Japanese print provided him with the means to do it in his structures. He made no secret of the fact that he owed the prints a direct architectural obligation. In an article written for The Studio in 1919, he said: "I owe much of the interest I have been able to generate for American architecture to my knowledge of Japanese art... [the prints] have had a powerful effect on my own work."
Wright was particularly influenced by the woodblock prints of Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858). Known throughout Europe as one of the greatest landscape artists of all time, Hiroshige is also regarded as one of the founders of modern photography. His prints were so popular that nearly every aspect of life in Japan was documented by them: from imperial ceremonies to ikebana flower arranging. This abundance of subject matter allowed him to be extremely detailed in his drawings and paintings.
One particular series that affected Wright the most is called "Views of Famous Temples and Shrines in Various Parts of Japan". It consists of thirty-one prints which date back to 1847. Each image is a view of a specific temple or shrine taken from a different perspective using elements in the surrounding scenery as references.
Wright believed in designing spaces that were both practical and compassionate, focused not just on the aesthetic of a building but also on how it would interact with and enhance the lives of those who lived within it. Furthermore, his organic design concept, at its foundation, says that architecture has a link with its period and location. Therefore, it should be as unique as the people who live in it or the group that uses it.
He started out by asking himself questions about human needs and desires, and then designed buildings that fulfilled these requirements. The answers to these questions determined what kind of space was required, such as domestic or commercial, as well as how it should be arranged including the size of rooms and the placement of facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms. He also took into account environmental factors, such as sunlight, wind, and water, when planning projects. Finally, Wright believed that design should be fun and should make us feel proud of what we have achieved.
Some of Wright's most important principles include:
- Naturalness. The structure should be as close as possible to being one with its environment.
- Simplicity. The fewer materials used in construction, the better. Simple forms are economical to build and easy to maintain.
- Functionality. The building should be suitable for its purpose. It should not be designed simply to look nice, nor should it be understated or crude.
The exhibition's diverse variety of projects, which would be recognized to anybody with a working understanding of Wright's career, demonstrates that Wright's idea of organic architecture was remarkably adaptive and durable. His designs used local materials and traditional building techniques but were always based on an understanding of how buildings and cities should function in order to achieve maximum efficiency and comfort. Although his work was enormously influential, it is important to understand that much of it was also highly controversial, particularly his use of industrial design principles in public buildings.
Wright developed his ideas during a period when the world was going through major changes after the invention of the automobile. The need to build houses that were safe, comfortable, and affordable for motorists was becoming increasingly evident. However, conventional housing design at that time was based on static models that ignored the needs of people living in them. For example, house plans typically included functions such as "living rooms" and "dining rooms," without considering how people actually used these spaces or whether they needed to be separated by furniture.
He believed that nature provides examples of successful solutions for various problems, and by studying these solutions carefully, we can learn a great deal about how buildings and cities should be designed.
Frank Lloyd Wright's unique style and lasting effect have long inspired architects all across the world, and it continues to do so today. The materials utilized, unit systems, and harmony between the buildings and the surroundings in these instances are all clearly related to Wright's design concepts.
During his lifetime, Wright's work was widely acclaimed, and after his death his architectural firm became one of the most successful companies in America. Today, its designs can be found in many countries around the world.
His early commissions were from American clients, but soon after his arrival in Chicago in 1885 he began to design houses for himself and his wife. These homes were meant not only for their own use but also as showpieces that would attract potential customers. Their popularity led to more commissions, and by 1890 Wright had set up his own office with four employees. That same year, he received his first international commission, a private school in Springville, Pennsylvania.
Wright continued to develop his ideas throughout his career, changing his approach sometimes even within a single project. For example, he started out by designing simple one-story cottages, but later designed large Prairie Style houses with many rooms. He also changed his mind about using certain materials such as wood and stone, once preferring steel over concrete.
In addition to being an architect, Wright was also interested in music, art, and literature.