Genius designer and architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), born on this day in Richland Center, Wisconsin, really believed in his vision and called architecture "the triumph of human imagination over materials."
He was a prolific pioneer who created over 1,000 structures, of which 532 were completed and 409 still stand. Wright was a complex man, a visionary and also an eccentric.
"A building is not just a place to be. It is a way to be," he said, a believer in the importance of a structure's atmosphere and spirit.
Like Thoreau and Emerson, his innovative work celebrated nature and sought to elevate human values. "Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you," he once advised students.
Experimenting with new designs, he created the The Robie House (1909), one of Wright's Prairie House designs that featured dwellings close to the soil with strong horizontal lines and rooms with flowing, uncompartmented spaces.
"Beautiful buildings are more than scientific," he explained. "They are true organisms, spiritually conceived; works of art using the best technology."
His popular designs include Tokyo's earthquake-proof Imperial Hotel (1916-20); Edgar Kaufmann's famous house, Fallingwater (1935) built over a waterfall in Pennsylvania; Wisconsin's Johnson Wax Building (1936-1939) with its many sizes and shapes of bricks; and New York's spiral Guggenheim Museum (1956).
"I never design a building before I've seen the site and met the people who will be using it," Wright explained.
"The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes," he once said...and really believed.
Believe, and it will happen