Organic Architecture


I’d like to have a free architecture. I’d like to have architecture that belonged where you see it standing, and was a grace to the landscape instead of a disgrace.7

Although the word “organic” usually refers to something that bears the characteristics of plants or animals, for Frank Lloyd Wright the term organic architecture had a separate meaning. For him organic architecture was an interpretation of nature’s principles manifested in buildings that were in harmony with the world around them. Wright held that a building should be a product of its place and its time, intimately connected to a particular moment and site—never the result of an imposed style.

Wright was interested in the relationship between buildings and their surrounding environments. He believed that a building should complement its environment so as to create a single, unified space that appears to “grow naturally” out of the ground. He also thought that a building should function like a cohesive organism, where each part of the design relates to the whole. Wright’s organic architecture often incorporates natural elements such as light, plants, and water into his designs. His color choices reflected the environment as well with yellows, oranges, and browns. His favorite accent color was red, which has importance both in nature and in the Japanese culture, which he studied and visited and admired.

Through years of study and experimentation, organic architecture came to describe Wright’s total design ideology. Some of the governing principles of this philosophy included:

·         The belief that a building should appear to grow easily from its site

·         Choosing one dominant form for a building and integrating that form throughout

·         Using natural colors: “Go into the woods and field for color schemes”

·         Revealing the nature of materials

·         Opening up spaces

·         Providing a place for natural foliage.

Wright also embraced new materials, machinery, and technologies. Far from seeing them in opposition to nature, he saw them as allies. Depending upon each other for their integrity, nature would inform and machinery execute a totally new architecture—one where the machine’s capacities transformed natural principles into architectural forms.

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