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What Is Organic Architecture?

Frank Lloyd Wright's Architecture

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Taliesan West by Frank Lloyd Wright

Taliesin West in Arizona expresses Frank Lloyd Wright's theories of Organic Architecture

Photo © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona / Guggenheim Museum Exhibition What Is Organic Architecture?

Frank Lloyd Wright's organic architecture at Kentuck Knob. Photo ©Jackie Craven

Definition:

Organic Architecture is a term Frank Lloyd Wright used to describe his approach to architectural design. The philosophy grew from the ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright's mentor, Louis Sullivan, who believed that "form follows function." Wright argued that "form and function are one."

Organic architecture strives to integrate space into a unified whole. Frank Lloyd Wright was not concerned with architectural style, because he believed that every building should grow naturally from its environment.

From An Organic Architecture, 1939, by Frank Lloyd Wright:

"So here I stand before you preaching organic architecture: declaring organic architecture to be the modern ideal and the teaching so much needed if we are to see the whole of life, and to now serve the whole of life, holding no 'traditions' essential to the great TRADITION. Nor cherishing any preconceived form fixing upon us either past, present or future, but - instead - exalting the simple laws of common sense - or of super-sense if you prefer - determining form by way of the nature of materials..."

Modernist Approaches to Organic Design:

In the later half of the twentieth century, Modernist architects took the concept of organic architecture to new heights. By using new forms of concrete and cantilever trusses, architects could create swooping arches without visible beams or pillars.

Modern organic buildings are never linear or rigidly geometric. Instead, wavy lines and curved shapes suggest natural forms.

Examples:

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