Frank Lloyd Wright’s contributions to architecture are well catalogued and any course on contemporary architecture would be incomplete without noting some of his built work. However his graphic work is lesser know and also highly compelling. Following on from my previous post regarding architectural graduate shows where we witnessed the development of graphical dexterity in exploring architectural ideas, I’d like to continue the thought upon the importance of graphical disciplines to a practicing architect.
Wright explored many themes and architectural ideas within his graphical work, this clearly becoming a place for experimentation and further cultivation of his immense creativity. It’s clear to see how rug designs, stained glass patterns and other ornamentation were explored through drawing and graphics but it’s less clear to understand how the graphics would have influenced his architectural thinking and vice versa. For me many of these images illustrate a process of how Wright’s reverie for the natural world becomes manifest into architecture. The ability to interpret organic form into abstract compositions with clear rhythms and structure is clearly an important step towards later architectural solutions. It is interesting to speculate upon other great architects of the last century such as Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto who also had extensive forays into other disciplines, (including painting graphics and vase making) which they often credited to greatly assisting their architectural thinking.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s contributions to typography, graphic design, poster, book and mural art has been comprehensibly documented and illustrated in the book Frank Lloyd Wright: Graphic Artist.