Frank Lloyd Wright Quotes

Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867 – 1959

Born: 8 June 1867, Richland Center, Wisconsin
Died: 9 April 1959, Phoenix, Arizona

Born Frank Lincoln Wright, he changed his name to honor his mother’s family (Lloyd Jones) after his father left and divorced in 1885. Wright attended high school at Madison, Wisconsin but didn’t graduate. He was given special permission to enroll at the University of Wisconsin, pledged Phi Delta Theta, and worked closely with a professor of civil engineering, but left after two semesters. (Almost seventy years later the school granted him a Doctorate of Fine Arts in 1955.) He moved to Chicago, a city still rebuilding from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and found work as a draftsman with an architect and worked on several homes. He left to join Adler & Sullivan where he was given significant design responsibility, Louis Sullivan was the only architect Wright ever credited as an influence on his work. Wright consistently lived beyond his means, during the five years with Adler & Sullivan he built nine houses on the side, for which he was eventually fired. the period through the turn of the century was a transition, Wright building homes that were based on his earlier work, but in 1901 he developed the concept known as the Prairie House, homes that blended well with their sites. Perhaps most notable was his own home, Taliesen. In 1909, with six children by his wife Kitty, Wright left for Europe with Mameh Cheney the wife of a client, they spent over a year working on a printed portfolio of his work for a German publisher. In 1914 a servant at Taliesen locked all the doors save one, set fire to the house, and killed seven of the nine occupants with an axe, including Mameh and her two children. Wright spent several years in Japan building the Imperial Hotel at Tokyo, he subsequently was a major dealer in Japanese art in the US. Another fire, this one attributed to wiring in a new phone system, destroyed the second Taliesen in 1925. He spent some time in California building what he called Textile Block houses from large purpose-cast concrete elements and would later design a series of Usonian Houses, intended for middle-class clients. Wright wrote twenty books and numerous articles and was a popular speaker. He underwent surgery to remove an intestinal blockage at Phoenix, Arizona, five days later he suddenly died. The American Institute of Architects named him the “greatest American architect of all time” in 1991. Probably the last plans he finished before his death, originally to be built in Maryland, were executed in Ireland in 2007, his only building in Europe.

Frank Lloyd Wright quotes:

“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.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

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.
    Frank Lloyd Wright – The Future of Architecture (1953)

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.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

A man is a fool if he drinks before he reaches the age of 50, and a fool if he doesn’t afterward.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

A professional is one who does his best work when he feels the least like working.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

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.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable.
    Frank Lloyd Wright – The Living City (1958)

An architect’s most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board, and a wrecking bar at the site.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

An expert is a man who has stopped thinking – he knows!
    Frank Lloyd Wright

An idea is salvation by imagination.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Architecture is life, or at least it is life itself taking form and therefore it is the truest record of life as it was lived in the world yesterday, as it is lived today or ever will be lived.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

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.’
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Art for art’s sake is a philosophy of the well-fed.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

As we live and as we are, Simplicity – with a capital “S” – is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.
    Frank Lloyd Wright – The Natural House (1954)

Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Bureaucrats: they are dead at 30 and buried at 60. They are like custard pies; you can’t nail them to a wall.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

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 -isms are imposition on life itself by way of previous education.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Clear out 800,000 people and preserve it as a museum piece.
    Frank Lloyd Wright – On Boston, The New York Times (27 November 1955)

Continuously nature shows him the science of her remarkable economy of structure in mineral and vegetable constructions to go with the unspoiled character everywhere apparent in her forms.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Democracy is the opposite of totalitarianism, communism, fascism, or mobocracy.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.
    Frank Lloyd Wright – The Future of Architecture (1953)

Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Freedom is from within.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Get the habit of analysis – analysis will in time enable synthesis to become your habit of mind.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

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.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Harvard takes perfectly good plums as students, and turns them into prunes.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

Human beings can be beautiful. If they are not beautiful it is entirely their own fault. It is what they do to themselves that makes them ugly.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

I believe totally in a Capitalist System, I only wish that someone would try it.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

I doubt if there is anything in the world uglier than a Midwestern city.
    Frank Lloyd Wright – Address at Evanston Illinois (8 August 1954)

I feel coming on a strange disease – humility.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts with my own furniture.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

I think Ms Monroe’s architecture is extremely good architecture.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

I wouldn’t mind seeing opera die. Ever since I was a boy, I regarded opera as a ponderous anachronism, almost the equivalent of smoking.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

I’m all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let’s start with typewriters.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

If it sells, it’s art.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

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.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

If you would see how interwoven it is in the warp and woof of civilization … go at night-fall to the top of one of the down-town steel giants and you may see how in the image of material man, at once his glory and his menace, is this thing we call a city.
    Frank Lloyd Wright – “The Art and Craft of the Machine” lecture (1904)

It is where life is fundamental and free that men develop the vision needed to reveal the human soul in the blossoms it puts forth.
    Frank Lloyd Wright – “Chicago Culture” lecture (1918)

It [New York City] is a great monument to the power of money and greed … a race for rent.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Less is only more where more is no good.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Life always rides in strength to victory, not through internationalism … but only through the direct responsibility of the individual.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Mechanization best serves mediocrity.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Nature is all the body of God we mortals will ever see.

Frank Lloyd Wright
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.

Frank Lloyd Wright
New York: Prison towers and modern posters for soap and whiskey. Pittsburgh: Abandon it.

Frank Lloyd Wright

The New York Times (27 November 1955)
No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright, An Autobiography (1932)
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.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Noble life demands a noble architecture for noble uses of noble men. Lack of culture means what it has always meant: ignoble civilization and therefore imminent downfall.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Organic architecture seeks superior sense of use and a finer sense of comfort, expressed in organic simplicity.

Frank Lloyd Wright
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.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Pictures deface walls oftener than they decorate them.

Frank Lloyd Wright

“In the Cause of Architecture”, The Architectural Record (March 1908)
Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Respect the masterpiece. It is true reverence to man. There is no quality so great, none so much needed now.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Space is the breath of art.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Space. The continual becoming: invisible fountain from which all rhythms flow and to which they must pass. Beyond time or infinity.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Television is chewing gum for the eyes.

Frank Lloyd Wright
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.

Frank Lloyd Wright
The architect should strive continually to simplify; the ensemble of the rooms should then be carefully considered that comfort and utility may go hand in hand with beauty.

Frank Lloyd Wright
The best thing to do is go as far out as you can get… what you regard as ‘too far’—and when others follow, as they will, move on

Frank Lloyd Wright

The Natural House (1954)
The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind.

Frank Lloyd Wright
The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.

Frank Lloyd Wright
The measure of a man’s culture is the measure of his appreciation. We are ourselves what we appreciate and no more.

Frank Lloyd Wright
The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.

Frank Lloyd Wright
The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.

Frank Lloyd Wright

New York Times Magazine (4 October 1953)
The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope.

Frank Lloyd Wright

The Living City (1958)

The room within is the great fact about the building.

Frank Lloyd Wright
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.

Frank Lloyd Wright
The screech and mechanical uproar of the big city turns the citified head, fills citified ears — as the song of birds, wind in the trees, animal cries, or as the voices and songs of his loved ones once filled his heart. He is sidewalk-happy.

Frank Lloyd Wright

The Living City (1958)
The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.

Frank Lloyd Wright
The truth is more important than the facts.

Frank Lloyd Wright
There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.

Frank Lloyd Wright
“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.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.

Frank Lloyd Wright
To know what to leave out and what to put in; just where and just how, ah, THAT is to have been educated in the knowledge of simplicity.

Frank Lloyd Wright
To look at the cross-section of any plan of a big city is to look at something like the section of a fibrous tumor.

Frank Lloyd Wright

The Living City (1958)
Toleration and liberty are the foundations of a great republic.

Frank Lloyd Wright
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.

Frank Lloyd Wright
We create our buildings and then they create us. Likewise, we construct our circle of friends and our communities and then they construct us.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Why, I just shake the buildings out of my sleeves.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Youth is a circumstance you can’t do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Youth is a quality, not a matter of circumstances.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Youth is not an age thing. It’s a quality. Once you’ve had it, you never lose it.

Frank Lloyd Wright

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