Frank Lloyd Wright?s ability to get his radical and revolutionary designs built relied in part on his ability to communicate and persuade. We?ve assembled and organized many of Wright?s more famous quotes here, so you can get a sense of the man through his own words.
On Art and Architecture
Architecture is the triumph of Human Imagination over materials, methods, and men, to put man into possession of his own Earth. It is at least the geometric pattern of things, of life, of the human and social world. It is at best that magic framework of reality that we sometimes touch upon when we use the word order.
The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.
Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun.
Mechanization best serves mediocrity.
No stream rises higher than its source. What ever man might build could never express or reflect more than he was. He could record neither more nor less than he had learned of life when the buildings were built.
Classicism is a mask and does not reflect transition. How can such a static expression allow interpretation of human life as we know it? A fire house should not resemble a French Chateau, a bank a Greek temple and a university a Gothic Cathedral. All of the ism are imposition on life itself by way of previous education.
Consider everything in the nature of a hanging fixture a weakness, and naked radiators an abomination.
Space. The continual becoming: invisible fountain from which all rhythms flow and to which they must pass. Beyond time or infinity.
The space within becomes the reality of the building.
Space is the breath of art.
A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart.
Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.
On Unity Temple
Why not, then, build a temple, not to GOD in that way - more sentimental than sense - but build a temple to man, appropriate to his uses as a meeting place, in which to study man himself for his God's sake? A modern meeting-house and good-time place.
Build a beautiful room proportioned to this purpose. Make it beautiful in this simple sense. A natural building for natural Man.
On Organic Architecture
Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders' spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to environment, married to the ground.
Organic architecture seeks superior sense of use and a finer sense of comfort, expressed in organic simplicity.
I would like to have a free architecture. Architecture that belonged where you see it standing - and is a grace to the landscape instead of a disgrace.
True ornament is not a matter of prettifying externals. It is organic with the structure it adorns, whether a person, a building, or a park. At its best it is an emphasis of structure, a realization in graceful terms of the nature of that which is ornamented.
So here I stand before you preaching organic architecture: declaring organic architecture to be the modern ideal.
Think simple as my old master used to say - meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles.
On God and Nature
God is the great mysterious motivator of what we call nature, and it has been said often by philosophers, that nature is the will of God. And, I prefer to say that nature is the only body of God that we shall ever see. If we wish to know the truth concerning anything, we'll find it in the nature of that thing.
Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain.
Every great architect is - necessarily - a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.
The architect must be a prophet... a prophet in the true sense of the term... if he can't see at least ten years ahead don't call him an architect.
An architect's most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board, and a wrecking bar at the site.
A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.
All I learned from Eliel Saarinen was how to make out an expense account. (after a South American trip with Saarinen)
Well, now that he's finished one building, he'll go write four books about it. (about Le Corbusier)
He exposes all the function on the top and puts the form below. It's as if you were to wear your entrails on top of your head. (about an un-named but well known architect of his day)
I?ve been accused of saying I was the greatest architect in the world and if I had said so, I don?t think it would be very arrogant, because I don?t believe there are many [great architects] - if any. For 500 years what we call architecture has been phony.
On Government and Institutions
Toleration and liberty are the foundations of a great republic.
A free America, democratic in the sense that our forefathers intended it to be, means just this: individual freedom for all, rich or poor, or else this system of government we call democracy is only an expedient to enslave man to the machine and make him like it.
Democracy is the opposite of totalitarianism, communism, fascism, or mobocracy.
Maybe we can show government how to operate better as a result of better architecture.
We should have a system of economics that is structure, that is organic tools. We do not have it. We are all hanging by our eyebrows from skyhooks economically, just as we are architecturally.
A vital difference between the professional man and a man of business is that money making to the professional man should, by virtue of his assumption, be incidental; to the business man it is primary. Money has its limitations; while it may buy quantity, there is something beyond it and that is quality.
Bureaucrats: they are dead at 30 and buried at 60. They are like custard pies; you can't nail them to a wall.
Harvard takes perfectly good plums as students, and turns them into prunes
On His Own Work
I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts with my own furniture.
Why, I just shake the buildings out of my sleeves.
The one on my board right now. (when asked which of his buildings was most beautiful)
Move the chair. (to a client phoning to complain of rain leaking through the roof)
It is a great monument to the power of money and greed - a race for rent. (about New York City)
Tip the world on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.
Abandon it. (on being asked how he would improve Pittsburgh)
Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world.
The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.
Life always rides in strength to victory, not through internationalism... but only through the direct responsibility of the individual.
Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities
If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.
The present is the ever-moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope.
The scientist has marched in and taken the place of the poet. But one day somebody will find the solution to the problems of the world and remember, it will be a poet, not a scientist.
Youth is a quality, not a matter of circumstances.
On Nothing in Particular
I hate intellectuals. They are from the top down. I am from the bottom up.
I think Ms Monroe?s architecture is very good architecture. (about Marilyn Monroe)
Don't eat it. It will kill you before your time. Avoid it. (speaking of pepper)