The Impact of Frank Lloyd Wright on the Fields of Craft and Design


TheImpact of Frank Lloyd Wright on the Fields of Craft and Design

Thispaper looks at the illustrious life of Frank Lloyd Wright towards thedevelopment of craft and design. Wright was born 1867 in RichlandCenter, Wisconsin, United States and was an important and influentialfigure as far as Twenty First Century architecture is concerned. Hisfirst architectural designs were the shingle style of Queen Annearchitecture. When Wright was beginning his career, the Arts andCrafts industry was undergoing phenomenal changes that created amovement. Wright was part of the American aesthetic revolution duringthe Arts and Crafts. The work of Wright’s works has shaped theAmerican artistic revolution. Historians in art and design havecatalogues that are devoted to different items that bear Wright’sarchitectural prowess.

Today,his motifs behind window designs influence modern designs inembroidery, jewelry, wall coverings and other items that depend onaesthetic appeal as a differentiating factor on the market. Wright’sare still influential in contemporary art and design. Today, modernaesthetics in art pay particular attention to cultural vocabularythat was one of his design principles. Contemporary architects anddesigners judge the appropriateness of buildings and structures tolocal settings based on Wright’s ideas and design principles. Today, modern aesthetics in art pay particular attention to culturalvocabulary that was one of his design principles. Wright’s had alot of influence on Domino’s Farms. The artists that designed theDomino’s Farms was known as Gunner Birkerts, and used Wright’sprairie architectural style as the main element in the structures.Other features that are typically using Wright’s concepts are a lowroofline and endless expanse that characterizes the American prairie.In conclusion, Wright’s contributions to art, design andarchitecture will never be erased on the face of the earth and inhistory

Adiscussion of the development of the craft and design will beincomplete without the illustrious life of Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright was born 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin, United States. Wright is an important and influential figure as far as Twenty FirstCentury architecture is concerned. He had a career of seventy twoyears where he became acclaimed all across the world. He had artistictriumphs coupled with hostile derision. Wright produced a greatnumber of artistic and architectural works in vast amounts and greatquality. Historians divide his work and career into three “goldeneras”. After completing his studies at the University of Wisconsin,Wright apprenticed to Lyman Silsbee, an architect from Chicago(Wright,2008). His first architectural designs were the shingle style ofQueen Anne architecture. Wright found later fund the opportunity towork with the Adler and Sullivan, a prominent architectural companyin Chicago. The movement provided the powerful motivation to Wrightand also shaped the work of other architects and artists throughoutEurope and the United States. In the United States, the art and craftrevolution as part of the international effort that was keen totransmogrify art from the classical European arts to a dynamicindustry that emphasizes on aesthetics. Specifically, the architectsand artists in the United States introduced an artistic aestheticmovement regardless of the immense foreign influence fromEurope(Nute,2000). The aesthetics that shaped the American artistic revolutionentailed incorporation of regional circumstances. Wright was part ofthe American aesthetic revolution during the Arts and Crafts. Wrighthad the first international exposure in 1893, when Chicago hostedinternational expositions and expositions held in 1904 in St. Louis.Wright established contacts with other artists from Europe that werealso shaping their own aesthetics movement at home. During thatperiod, journals such as House Beautiful, The Craftsman, and LadiesHome Journals served sources of information on international designs.Clubs and societies also organized and financed lectures and programsto expose American artists, including Wight, to international designideals. One of the leading designers and theorists that Wrightestablished a personal contact with was C.R. Ashbee, an Englishdesigner, whose ideas had immense influence on his career.


Wright’sworks shaped the American artistic revolution. He produced uniquearchitectural designs such as the Robie House of Chicago, The WaxBuilding in Racine and the Falling Waters in western Pennsylvania.The three masterpieces are recognized by American Institute ofArchitecture as the best ten pieces of art and architecture in thetwentieth Century(Forty,2000). Furthermore, the falling water and Johnson wax buildingtogether with Wright’s portrait are among his masterpieces featuredon U.S. postage stamps. His works are still treated as importantartifacts to date and prized at high value by museums and privatecollectors. Millions of people from different parts of the worldflock Wright’s buildings to experience his phenomenal creativitythat changed the field of art and Craft, design, and architecture.For instance, his houses in Oak Park, Illinois, and the home studiocontinue to be among the most important destinations in the UnitedStates. Historians in art and design have catalogues that aredevoted to different items that bear Wright’s architecturalprowess. Today, his motifs behind window designs influence moderndesigns in embroidery, jewelry, wall coverings and other items thatdepend on aesthetic appeal as a differentiating factor on themarket(Hanks&amp Wright, 1979). Exhibitionists of Wright’s work also have themany websites, books, scholarly monographs, and articles devoted toanalyzing the aesthetic philosophy that shaped his art design andarchitecture. Other details that continue to draw internationalscrutiny are his design principles and fine details of his projects. Motion picture biographers also prepared a comprehensive coverage ofWright’s life and legacy. For example the famous Ken Burns, thefamous biographist and documentarist, produced a two-part seriesbased on the Wright’s life. The series inspired Ayn Rand’s book,TheFountainhead.

Wrighthad a huge influence on European architecture. A group of youngarchitects were fascinated by the 1910 album of Wright’s project.The album title was The Wasmuth portfolio. It contained differentelevation of his major works and projects. After seeing the album,Robert Van’t Hoff, De Stijl co-founder travelled to the UnitedStates to have a first-hand experience of Wright’s buildings. TheUnity Temple was among the buildings that Van’t Hoff saw in 1908. He stayed to work with Wright for a short period before returning toEurope to design the Villa Henny, which also earned its place in artand architectural history. Van’t Hoff’s work was inspired by hisexuberance with Wright’s unique designs.


Wright’sare still influential in contemporary art and design. He had adifferent sense of proportion that continues to shape the conceptionof modern aesthetics in modern art and design. Contemporaryarchitects and designers judge the appropriateness of buildings andstructures to local settings based on Wright’s ideas and designprinciples. Today, modern aesthetics in art pay particular attentionto cultural vocabulary that was one of his design principles. “FrankLloyd Wright” is synonymous with high standards in art and design.It is a brand name in contemporary architecture and art the same waythe “Rockefeller” signifies wealth and affluence. Even averagepeople can identify with his masterpieces four decades after hisdeath in 1959. Wright is the only American designer that ranks amongthe top in the world’s best in history and today. Robert Campbell,a renowned writer in modern architecture made the following remarksabout Wright, “Wright is greatest American has ever produced and heoften seemed to come into his own. Other great artists in painting,sculpturing, and music do not rank among the best of all time. Theyare not similar to Rembrandt or Michelangelo or Beeth. Only Wrightreached that status in his field.”

Wright’sInfluence on Domino’s Farms

GunnerBirkerts, the artists that designed the Domino’s Farms usedWright’s prairie architectural style as the main element in thestructures. Birkerts used natural materials to design both theinteriors and exteriors coupled with an appreciation of Wright-stylecolor and texture(Alofsin,1993). The Domino farm‘s design has integrated with the immediateenvironment such as the landscape based on his postulations about“the kinship of building to ground”. Birkerts’ design reflectedthe topography and vegetation of the area. The design was motivatedby Wright’s words that, “a good building need not hurt thelandscape. It should make it more beautiful than it looked before thebuilding was erected on the site.”The most noticeable feature ofthe Domino Farm’s design that draws direct inspiration fromWright’s work is the low-sloping hip roof with broad overhangs. Thetwo motifs are archetypically American comprising his artistic motifsof visual pleasance. Other features that are typically usingWright’s concepts are a low roofline and endless expanse thatcharacterizes the American prairie. The hip roof of the structures atDomino Farm is concordant with its rural settings. The shading isnatural complimentary to the expansive ribbon windows of thebuildings, and protective through gentle slope that reduces thestructures resistance to strong winds. They also enhance energyefficiency of the air currents that deflects along building duringsummer and winter. The roof on the Domino’s Farm’s is distinct asthe largest roof surface coated with copper on any commercialstructure on earth with about 423,000 sq. ft. in area. The buildingalso harmonizes the sky and the native grasses in the surroundinglandscape through its green-tinted patina. It is also a veryimportant feature that enhances the structures natural fit into thelocal settings in the countryside.

Inconclusion, Wright’s contributions to art, design and architecturewill never be erased on the face of the earth and in history. It isclear that, contemporary architects and designers judge theappropriateness of buildings and structures to local settings basedon Wright’s ideas and design principles. Today, modern aestheticsin art pay particular attention to cultural vocabulary that was oneof his design principles. The most important theme that will continueto influence modern art and design is aesthetics in relation to thelocal settings. The theme is what exemplifies Wright’s work asarchetypically American. This explains why any judgment on a modernpiece of work based on its relevance to local aesthetics has to bewithin the Wright’s paradigms of modern art and architecture.


Alofsin,A. (1993). FrankLloyd Wright–the Lost Years, 1910-1922: A Study of Influence.University of Chicago Press.

Forty,A. (2000). Wordsand buildings: a vocabulary of modern architecture(Vol. 268). London: Thames &amp Hudson.

Hanks,D. A., &amp Wright, F. L. (1979). TheDecorative Designs of Frank Lloyd Wright.Courier Corporation.

Nute,K. (2000). Frank Lloyd Wright and Japan: The role of traditionalJapanese art and architecture in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.PsychologyPress.

Wright,F. L. (2008). Modernarchitecture: being the Kahn lectures for 1930.Princeton University Press.