Believer in suburban utopia. Father of organic architecture. Doghouse designer. Cape-wearing dandy. Purported target of grave-robbing. Bootlegging apprentice. Speed demon. Homewrecker. Survivor. Attention-hungry celebrity. Mystery guest. Teacher. Pacifist. Bad boss. And if you don’t believe what others had to say about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright in his lifetime and long after, judge the man on his own words: “You see, early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and see no occasion to change now.”
Wright isn’t the only bona fide celebrity to have a less-than-sterling rep, but how did he get so famous in the first place? Oh right, the buildings. His ingenious, enchanting buildings—over 500 actual buildings, and 500 more on top of those that he didn’t get a chance to construct in his 91 years on this planet. According to the catalog for MoMA’s whopper of a retrospective—timed to what would have been Wright’s 150th birthday—the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives alone holds “55,000 drawings, 125,000 photographs, 285 films, 300,000 sheets of correspondence, 2,700 manuscripts,” and more. Prolific, to say the least.
Here, we winnowed down decades of work to pull out key buildings from the Frank Lloyd Wright oeuvre, from the domestically-scaled to the heavily ornamented, from the corporate behemoth to the soaring geometric forms of his later years. While any Wright archivist will tell you the architect himself eschewed “styles,” we’ve separated out his building chronology into a few key themes, depicting them with the help of illustrator Julia Rothman. [Download the poster-sized PDF version here.]
Download the poster version (PDF) of Curbed’s Frank Lloyd Wright Primer.