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Frank Lloyd Wright is considered by many to be America's greatest architect, and to learn about his early life and the building's ...
he created Meghan Carter of http://www.AsktheDecroator.com traveled to Oak Park to see his original home and studio. There she discovered Frank Lloyd Wright not only his radical work but his extraordinary life.
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Meghan: Frank Lloyd Wright is considered by many to be America’s greatest architect. He designed over 1100 projects during his life and half of them were built. But who was he? What was the man behind those buildings? Well I am here at his first home in Oak Park to find out.
I am hitting the road searching for answers and finding great design. It is a quest for beauty, function and of course, inspiration.
If you want to learn about the early years of Frank Lloyd Wright’s life as an architect, there is one place to go, his original home and studio right outside of Chicago in Oak Park, Illinois. Each year, roughly 80,000 people make their way to see the first home Wright built for himself and his first wife in 1889 when he was just 22.
The home is not the stereotypical Wright home. I noticed that right away but the house does show hints of Wright’s later works in the placement of the fireplace at the center of the home, the large amounts of art glass and the lack of attic space. Lauren Finch of the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust gave me a tour of the home and helped to give me a better understanding for why Wright’s home has become such a popular destination.
So this is put basically the place where it all started.
Lauren: Started the first 20 years of his career was right here in Oak Park and this is where the pre-school designs was develop and just so much history comes from this house that is why it is so celebrated.
Meghan: But before living in Oak Park, Wright spent the latter part of his childhood in Wisconsin where he learned to appreciate nature while working on his mother’s family farm. When it came time to go to college, Wright attended the University of Wisconsin and studied engineering. But after a short time, Wright decided to leave college. In 1877, he headed to Chicago at the age of 19.
What brought him to Chicago because that seems like a strange place from Wisconsin?
Lauren: Yes it is but actually after the great fire of Chicago, many, many architects converged on Chicago so that is why we have such great architecture in the city. They came to rebuild the city and so, so many came here and Frank Lloyd Wright was just one of them. So he came down here to Chicago, worked for Silsbee as a draftsman for not really that long for less than a year and then he worked his way into Adler and Sullivan, one of the best architecture firms here in Chicago and Frank Lloyd Wright was just such a confident ma and Sullivan saw this man and knew he had great things and after just a short time as a draftsman, he moved his way up in the company.
Meghan: In 1889, Wright made a deal with Adler and Sullivan to work exclusively for them if they would lend him money to build a home, the home in Oak Park for his bride Catherine Tobin. While Wright built the home, he did not stay with Adler and Sullivan for as long as expected.
Lauren: He was let go from Adler and Sullivan. Frank Lloyd Wright, he had done some moonlighting, he was not supposed to but he did that and that—
Meghan: So basically he worked for other people?
Lauren: Worked for other people, sometimes under the same names as well.
Lauren: Yes because he was not supposed to be doing that so sometimes--
Meghan: Was it to gain extra money or was it—?
Lauren: To gain extra money, yes he did—he also had his own ideas and to gain some extra money, he worked on the site as well and the story goes though there are many—the story is not written down and there are many different interpretations. Some people knew, Sullivan knew Frank Lloyd Wright was doing this and nothing ever happened, he let him go on but as the story goes, Frank Lloyd Wright actually built a house just a few blocks from where Sullivan lived and as Sullivan was walking by one time he said “That looks like a young architect, Frank Lloyd Wright’s work.” And then found out he was doing the moonlighting and had to let him go. So that is the story.
Meghan: After being let go by Adler and Sullivan, Wright began working on his own. The homes he designed were radical for his time, as was h