At Home in the World — the Architecture and Life of Frank Lloyd Wright

Keywords: Frank Lloyd Wright, Architecture, Biography, Aesthetic Realism, Eli Siegel, Beauty, Love, Fallingwater, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.


This article shows how the enduring
admiration people have for the architecture of
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) is explained
by this principle of Aesthetic Realism, stated
by the founder of this philosophy, the great
American poet and critic, Eli Siegel: “All beauty
is a making one of opposites, and the making
one of opposites is what we are going after in
Scholars have written of Wright’s
contradictions: his charm and his arrogance, the
warmth of his interior designs and his coldness
to persons near to him. The authors show that
like people everywhere, Wright was trying in
his life to put together opposites in himself,
including the same opposites he was able to
compose magnificently in his best architectural
work: most particularly, the opposites of inside
and outside, “the snug and exterior.” Two early
examples discussed are his 1893 Gale House and
the Heurtley House of 1902.
Wright’s love of nature led to his concept of
organic architecture: buildings inspired by, and
at one with, their environment. A masterful
example discussed in detail is his 1935 house
design Fallingwater, built dramatically above
a waterfall. The authors also show how two
works from very different points in Wrightʼs
long career — the 1904 Unity Temple, and the Guggenheim Museum, completed in 1960 — are
opportunities for people to know ourselves
better now. The explanation lies in the beautiful
way each structure puts opposites together.