Listen to a lecture in a class on modern American architects.
Professor: Good afternoon, class. Today, we‘ll continue our discussion of modern American architects. As I‘m sure you know, we‘ve almost finished this unit, and you know what that means; that means we‘ll be having an exam next week on all the modern architects we‘ve covered in this unit. Now, let‘s review the three main elements that any architect must consider when designing a building. Do you remember what they are? We‘ve been discussing them for the last few classes.
Man1: One of the elements is function.
Professor: That‘s right. An architect must consider the function of a building, whether the design hinders or enhances the use of the building, whether the design allows for easy heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical wiring…Now, what is another of the elements we‘ve discussed?
Female: Appearance…the second element is appearance.
Professor: Right. Does the building fit in with its surroundings? Is it pleasing to look at or an eyesore? Its appearance is quite an important element. Now, what‘s the third element?
Professor: Yes, an architect must consider a building‘s durability, whether the materials will withstand wear from weather on the outside and wear from use on the inside.
Professor: Now we‘ll move on to discuss the architect who‘s our topic for today. The man in this photograph is Frank Lloyd Wright. Frank Lloyd Wright has been called the greatest figure in modern American architecture because of his influence on function, appearance, and durability.
Wright wanted his buildings to be functional, and he strongly believed that interior space was more functional if it was open. The homes he designed tend to have very few walls. One room flows into another. The Guggenheim, a museum he designed, is a very good example of the openness that Wright strove for. The Guggenheim actually has no rooms at all. Visitors ride an elevator to the top and then gradually descend to ground level by walking through a giant spiral-shaped gallery. This sense of openness greatly influenced both American and European architecture.
The second element is appearance, and Wright was very, was very concerned about the appearance of his buildings.
Professor: Let‘s look at an example of Wright‘s architecture, and let‘s focus on its appearance. This is Wright‘s Robie House. Wright felt that buildings should seem a natural part of their site, and you can see that the Robie House is. This is what‘s called a prairie-style home. Wright‘s famous for his prairie-style homes. Notice the strong sense of horizontal line. Wright felt that low homes emphasizing horizontal lines blended well with the, the midwestern prairies.
Professor: Finally, durability was also important to Wright, and his choice of building materials was strongly influenced by their durability. Wright felt that concrete was highly durable yet flexible in its use for public buildings. He used it in a variety of…um…ways both structurally and decoratively. Wright was one of the first architects to use concrete for building and helped popularize its use.
Professor: Well, that‘s all for today. I‘ve placed several books on reserve in the library. Some of the books contain pictures and diagrams of Wright‘s work, and there‘s also an in-depth and…um…informative biography of Wright. The exam next week‘ll cover the information in the textbook and the lectures I‘ve given on Wright. The reserve material in the library is optional, but you may want to spend some time with it in order to have the best understanding possible of Frank Lloyd Wright and his work.