Organic Architecture

I like to participate in RedditGift’s annual Secret Santa. The first Secret Santa I gave to was in 2010 to a design student in Finland. I sent her a LEGO replica of the Guggenheim Museum and wrote a little letter to go with it. Earlier today I stumbled upon the letter:

You might already know about Frank Lloyd Wright as one of America’s most celebrated architects. He believed in “organic architecture,” which is the idea that building design should grow naturally from its environment. Lloyd described it as architecture that “belonged where you see it standing, and was a grace to the landscape instead of a disgrace.” It is a reinterpretation of nature’s principles filtered through the mind of an architect who builds forms that are more natural than nature itself. This is congruent with Wright’s belief of “form and function are one,” as opposed to the popular notion of “form follows function.” By this philosophy, modern architects create swooping arches and incorporate many wavy lines and curved shapes to suggest natural forms.

The Guggenheim Museum is one of Lloyd’s most recognized masterpieces. It sits on Fifth Avenue in the Manhattan district of New York City. Lloyd was never a fan of Manhattan, describing it as a “vast prison with glass fronts.” Unlike the rectangular and vertical architecture of the city, Lloyd introduced a museum with an interior similar to the inside of a seashell. Wright envisioned the museum as a place where its residents would not have to retrace their steps. Visitors would take an elevator to the top of the building and descend around the rotunda until returning to the entrance. It was his idea that the building is about movement through space as much as it is about space itself.