I is for Illinois and being introduced to the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. I was attending the Library School at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Stratoz and I took some road trips. The Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, IL was the first time I stepped into a Frank Lloyd Wright house and it was entering another dimension. Commissioned by Susan Lawrence Dana, woman of many interests, and in 1902, she asked Frank Lloyd Wright to incorporate her family home, but otherwise let him loose. I am thinking about my one-bedroom-two studio-rowhouse, built in 1900, and how it was a contemporary of the Dana-Thomas house.
The next summer, Stratoz and I went to Oak Park, IL, and visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s first studio, where he lived and worked from 1889-1909. Having a cat wander over to me as I sat outside was a bonus.
Then we headed to the Unity Temple, a Unitarian Universalist Church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. The pastor, Augusta Chapin, was a friend of Anna Jones Wright, FLW’s mother. When the old building was struck by lightning and burned down, Frank Lloyd Wright designed a new building entirely of exposed concrete, with no front entrance, and cubist pillars.
The Unity Temple site includes this quote by Frank Lloyd Wright:
On Organic Architecture
Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders’ spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to environment, married to the ground.
Organic architecture seeks superior sense of use and a finer sense of comfort, expressed in organic simplicity.
I would like to have a free architecture. Architecture that belonged where you see it standing – and is a grace to the landscape instead of a disgrace.
True ornament is not a matter of prettifying externals. It is organic with the structure it adorns, whether a person, a building, or a park. At its best it is an emphasis of structure, a realization in graceful terms of the nature of that which is ornament.