chapter  11
21 Pages

Form follows function: The selfobject function of Frank Lloyd Wright's art and architecture

This chapter explores the psychological function that the practice of architecture served for Frank Lloyd Wright. In this regard Wright was very different from the most prominent modern architects, most notably those of the Bauhaus School, who attempted to rid their designs of subjectivity, creating a stark, machine-like aesthetic free of affective expression. As a result modern architecture, as represented by the Bauhaus architects, had a fundamentally different psychological and aesthetic world-view to modern artists working in other art forms. On the other hand, Wright, because he saw himself as equal part artist and architect, was the most modernist of these architects in that for him architectural design became a means for expression and perfection of self. Speci®cally I will argue that Wright sought through the design and construction of his ``organic'' architecture (most importantly homes) to create opportunities for selfobject experience that not only shored up a precarious and fragmented self-structure, but also enhanced his self-experience to such an extent that he was able to actualize his role as the most respected and successful architect of his time. As he noted in the epigraph that begins this chapter, Frank Lloyd Wright designed not just buildings but entire self-created aesthetic worlds of such beauty that he transformed the physical and psychological landscape in which he and his clients lived, and along the way profoundly altered our modern social landscape.