Frank Lloyd Wright and Modern American Architecture

Frank Lloyd Wright is regarded by many as the greatest American architect. In his effort to develop an American style of architecture, he designed over 1,100 buildings. Wright is most noted for developing the distinctive Prairie School style of architecture.

Born in Wisconsin in 1867 to a teacher and a minister/musician, Wright grew up feeling a strong connection to nature. He enrolled at the University of Wisconsin at Madison to study civil engineering but left school after two years to begin work as an architect. Early in his career, Wright had the chance to spend five years working for Louis Sullivan, who was highly regarded for his work designing skyscrapers. Sullivan’s belief that form follows function was highly influential on Wright as well as other architects.

The Prairie School style developed by Wright focused on single-story homes made of local materials. Wood was an especially important element and was often left unpainted and natural. Key buildings designed by Wright included his own home and the Robie House in Chicago, Fallingwater near Pittsburgh, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Wright passed away at age 91 in 1959.

This primary source set includes images of Wright’s work, excerpts from his writings and speeches, information about his influences, and commentaries on his work.