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Frank Lloyd Wright: The Art and Craft of the Machine

A History of Interiors II Presentation

Emily Hardin

on 26 February 2013

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Transcript of Frank Lloyd Wright: The Art and Craft of the Machine

"The Art and Craft
of the Machine" Frank Lloyd Wright Frank Lloyd Wright The Art and Craft of the Machine •Born in 1867 in Richland Center, WI

•After his parents divorced, he took a
job for the Department of Engineering
at the University of Wisconsin and
went to school while he worked

•In 1887, at age 20, he left school and
worked for 2 different firms before taking
a job as a draftsman with the prestigious firm of Adler and Sullivan in Chicago. •In 1901, Wright presented a lecture titled "The Art and Craft of the Machine" to the Chicago Arts and Crafts Society.

•He used it as a platform to define both the scope and power of the machine and the roll that technology plays in the artistic process.

•The basic thesis of the lecture was that the future of art and craft lies in the machine, and Wright hoped to prove that in time, the machine would carry art to higher standards than the world had ever seen.

•Wright's argument was that Americans should not reject the power of the machine. •Wright grew up during the Industrial Revolution...a time when amazing changes were sweeping the world.

•From the 19th century horse and buggy to the 20th century rocket ship, Wright welcomed and embraced the technological changes. In 1893, Wright started his own architectural firm and is credited with creating 2 unique architectural styles--both stemmed from his belief in organic architecture.
He was determined to create a style that was unique to the United States because he refused to copy the historic European styles that other architects were imitating. Prairie Style •Low-pitched roofs with deep overhangs and long rows of casement windows...reflected the prairie on which they were built

•Clean lines and open floor plans...Wright designed both the interior and exterior of these homes

•Used natural wood, clay, and stone in his designs...he connected the building to the site

•Made use of the technology available at the time to simplify construction Usonian Style •Modified and simplified version of the prairie-style house...built to be affordable during the Great Depression

•Small, single-story structures built on a slab...no garages or basements...Wright invented open carports to add to these homes

•Built from natural materials

•Kitchen and living area were open to one another

•Democratic, uniquely American style that was the earliest version of the popular American ranch style house by Emily Hardin •Over the course of his 70 year career, Frank Lloyd created over 1,100 designs, and almost half were constructed.

•Besides residences, Wright also designed public buildings, churches, commercial buildings, apartment towers, recreational complexes, and museums. He is also recognized for designing furniture, lighting, textiles, and art glass.

•He defined the concept of "space" and gave all who lived and worked in his buildings the opportunity to connect with nature.

•In 1991, the American Institute of Architects named Wright the greatest American architect of all time. To prove his point, Wright argued both the negative and positive effects that the machines of the Industrial Revolution had on art and creativity. Negative Effects Mass production- when furnishings or art can be made in multiples, they lose their originality and value. "That the Machine has dealt Art in the grand old sense, a death-blow, none will deny." -Frank Lloyd Wright, p. 82 •William Morris, one of the most influential forces behind the Arts and Crafts Movement in America, was conflicted about the effects of the machine on art and architecture.

•He had a large following of artists, and they were involved in the Arts and Crafts movement, which was a rebellion against machines and mass production.

•Morris sensed the danger to art of the machine and attempted to put "man" back into the design and manufacturing process. William Morris caused artists to fear the machine. •The fact that the use of the machine makes things easier for the artist will cause him to lose his desire to create art by hand.

"Without regard to first principles or common decency, the whole letter of tradition--that is, ways of doing things render wholly obsolete and unnatural by the machine--is recklessly fed into its rapacious maw..." -Frank Lloyd Wright, p. 82 Positive Effects •Machinery has been invented, which will imitate hand-crafted wood carving as closely as possible.

•Because machines can easily carve overly- fussy posts, spindles, beams, and braces, the market is over-crowded with elaborate reproductions.

•The machine made commercial integrity unimportant. Beautiful, hand-crafted pieces were no longer appreciated. •The machine opened up a whole new world of possibilities when it was properly used.

•Artists and architects could use it to spark their creativity and inspire new and innovative designs.

•Simplicity, efficiency, and economy were benefits of using the machine. Frank Lloyd Wright used wood veneer as an example of proper use of the machine. •Before the machine, it took a long time to produce and was very expensive.

•Using the machine, it was possible to produce larger, more perfect sheets of wood veneer that were much less expensive. Quality was not sacrificed.

•With costs lowered, the rich as well as the poor could enjoy the beautiful furnishings that could be created using the veneer. "The Machine is intellect mastering the drudgery of earth that the plastic art may live; that the margin of leisure and strength by which man's life upon the earth can be made beautiful, may immeasurably widen; its function ultimately to emancipate human expression!" -Frank Lloyd Wright How Frank Lloyd Wright Made Use of the Machine •To design homes and other buildings that were simple, beautiful, and organic

•To create furniture with rectangular lines and natural surfaces

•To form items from nature into materials that could be used to build homes and furnishings

•He used the machine to create original, unique works of art and architecture--not to copy styles from the past. Frank Lloyd Wright's lecture has applications for the 21st century. •Machines have gone from being mechanical to being digital.

•The age of digital media has had a negative effect on creative thinking. No longer are machines focused on making work easier, they are focused on making thinking easier.

•Advances in technology have caused everything to be mass produced.

•The art of making products by hand has dwindled even further. It is important for us to remain in control of machines and not let them control our society. Frank Lloyd Wright referred to the Machine as the forerunner of democracy several times in his lecture. •Man had to learn to be the master and the machine the servant.

•If machines are controlled by only a small group of individuals, democracy cannot exist. •Forty years after Wright's insightful lecture, President Roosevelt expressed the same anxiety. "The machine in the hands of irresponsible conquerors becomes the master; mankind is not only the servant, it is the victim, too."
-FDR, 1940 Conclusion I support Wright's views. When artists and architects design beautiful art and architecture and use the machine only as a tool to help bring the design to life, the machines is being used properly. Frank Lloyd Wright used the machine to create art and architecture that has made him the greatest American architect of all time. This proves that when the power of the machine is controlled, mankind benefits. Wright was able to achieve the simplicity of the Arts and Crafts movement by correctly using the machine. He concludes his lecture by saying, "Thus is the thing into which the forces of Art are to breathe the thrill of ideality! A SOUL!"

By this he means that it is up to art to give the machine a purpose and a reason; and he has done so himself by properly using it to create original, beautiful homes. What was this Revolution that was going on during this time in the United States? •The advances in technology that took place between 1870–1914 were called the 2nd Industrial Revolution

•It was called a “Technological Revolution” because the machines that were being invented changed the way people lived and the way products were made

•Factories sprung up everywhere to take advantage of the new technology

•Everything began to be mass produced

•Machines did the work, the worker didn’t have to do anything but run the machine--no creativity was required
What was the new technology? New energy sources:

New ways to communicate:

Advances in Transportation:
•Steam engine--transcontinental railroad
Results of the new technology •The advances in technology brought about by all of these new inventions connected the United States from coast to coast.

•All of the changes that were happening and all of the machines that were running everything scared and intimidated some people

•The handcrafted items that had previously been made by craftsmen were now made by machines.

•This is what the Arts and Crafts Movement was protesting.

•Frank Lloyd Wright wanted to encourage people to make use of all of this wonderful new technology to increase their creativity.
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