“Any building should be complete, including all within itself. Instead of many things one thing… It is the first principle of any growth that the thing grown be no mere aggregation… And integration means that no part of anything is of any great value except as it be an integrated part of the harmonious whole.” – Frank Lloyd Wright, An Autobiography, 1932
James & Meryl Hearst Center for the Arts is pleased to announce Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior, an exhibition exploring the design of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses, often considered his greatest architectural accomplishment. Through 19 reproduction drawings, 8 photographs, and 4 photographic murals, the exhibition illustrates the myriad—both obvious and subtle— ways Wright created the visual character of interior space and objects within it, each an essential detail of the larger whole. Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior is on view at the James & Meryl Hearst Center for the Arts from November 30, 2012 through January 22, 2013.
House plans in the exhibition reveal the heart of Wright houses as a single, expansive space from which subordinate spaces extended outward in multiple directions, like spokes radiating outward from the hub of a wheel. Porches and terraces, wings of bedrooms, and floor-to-ceiling walls of glass all expanded the central hearth space to adjacent interior spaces, and to infinite space in the natural world beyond. Organizing the interior in this way increased the sense of generous space for living anchored by the central core.
Drawings and photographs of interiors show the ingenious ways Wright maximized the feeling of open space while accommodating the various functions for daily living. In the Robie House, for example, a single sightline extends from one end of the house to the other, visually connecting all of the areas. Functional furnishings were built into the structure in order to free floor space, as evidenced by a photograph of a very small bedroom in the Mossberg House.
Wright’s rejection of past styles led him to the contemporary visual language of abstraction and geometry. For Wright, this language had a deeper source as the structure and ornament of all forms in nature. Just as a living form is one entity in structure and ornament, so the house was to be a single whole in structure and expression. Wright used the term “organic” to convey his belief that structure, interior, furnishings and ornament should be as one. He conceived every feature of the house as a part expressing a single idea—from the structure, to the interior, to the smallest details and objects.
Wright’s objects are not decorated, but rather the character of the structure engages the viewer’s senses of sight and touch by color, texture, pattern, contour, light and shadow. The works in Architecture of the Interior reveal how all elements in Wright’s design express the overarching abstract geometric order of the house.
Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior is organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC, in cooperation with The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ.
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Guest Blog: Vicki Simpson, Hearst Center for the Arts