Where would our environment be today if more stewards of our landscape were equally “organic” minded as Frank Lloyd Wright? As an icon who respected nature, I have great admiration for Wright, who was one of the most innovative forward-thinking world architects of his time. When viewing Wright’s creations last week, I was fortunate to visit Kentuck Knob (Fallingwater was closed for the day!) and I had to remind myself, as I often do, that his mark took place in the early 1900’s. I visited the Martin summer home (Graycliff) in Buffalo last year and I’m hoping to view a few creations in Chicago sometime in August.
I’m not one for “tours” but I thoroughly enjoyed both guides at the Knob (his last house project, 1956) and Graycliff (built between 1926 and 1931). Tours there are necessary because otherwise, you’d feel like you were viewing a futuristic design, instead of something that was constructed more than 50 years ago. A few themes found there, which are not-so-common in today’s design terms, are ones which work with nature’s space and its elements. A portion of the Knob (bedroom) is built within a ledge to work with the landscape’s natural lines and to provide a cozy and temperature-friendly zone. Graycliff’s, aka “The Jewel on the Lake,” (Lake Erie) free flow design gives you a dichotomic feeling of a secure Fort Knox, as the open airiness of a large tree house allows for a full view and that rare, up-close-and-personal encounter with nature.
Another common theme of Wright was his dictatorial and uni-design mindset. Wright’s clients had little to no say regarding his design elements. Any spacial or structural suggestions by clients were rarely entertained. Few of today’s graphic artist/designers (and I consider Wright a true artist) have the luxury of such close-minded dictatorship when working with a “client.” From my experience as a CEO of a media company, the most challenging
element is managing the desires and passions of creative minds and the vision of a client. “Working artists,” or artists that are paid for their creativity, need to develop a special place, a neutral creative zone where they strike that unique balance between their vision/passion and the “paid” vision of the client. The more talented and the more creative an artist is, the more challenging that balance is to find.
As I continue to discover my own path, paving a pilgrimage to find a vocation that suits me for when I grow up, I will enjoy getting close, getting a glimpse, and studying the extreme talents of the Wright’s and Wrong’s of the world. I
look forward to my Chicago trip for more Wright. Some Wright sites: