Biographical Essay

Architects are skilled in he arts and sciences of building designs and develop and turn concepts for structures into reality. Throughout history there have been many fields and artists that change the way the world perceives masterpieces. Architecture is one such field where great minds create marvels and change perspectives. Many architects are responsible for having emotional impacts on people’s lives and can change the way towns, cities, and countries are seen. Two architects that have greatly influenced American history are Richard Morris Hunt and Frank Lloyd Wright.These two architects changed the definition of architecture and the way the world is perceived.

Richard Morris Hunt was America’s leading architect in the late 19th century, also known as the Gilded Age. Hunt was known for designing many lavish and notable buildings by combining historical architectural elements with modern technology. Considered “the dean of American architecture,” Hunt played an important role in shaping and professionalism the architectural practice and education in the United States (Rose).

Hunts work and knowledge in architecture, established precedents for education that included formal, intellectual, technical, and professional principles (Rose). The first academic architectural training programs were established in America by a close group of people in Hunts circle and were instructed to lead by his example. Richard Hunt was born in Vermont on October 31, 1827. After moving to Europe with his mother, Hunt took an interest in architecture and became the first American architect to study at the number one architectural school in the world, Cole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Here Hunt became a leader in his profession and in establishing the American Institute of Architects (Roth). Hunt returned to the United States in 1 855 and established a practice where e sought to bring European knowledge, modern and historical, back home to a land he barely knew, but saw promise (Rose). Hunts traveling and widespread knowledge strengthened his view of architecture. By the early 1 ass’s, Hunts success as an architect became known among the “newly rich industrial magnates” of New York (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness).America’s aristocrats wanted houses that “imitated the ancestral mansions of European nobility” (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness). Hunts most well-known architectural designs for one of America’s prestigious families, included his works for William Assam Vanderbilt. The Vanderbilt family and Hunt remained in close association throughout his career.

Called The Breakers, this Fifth Avenue town house in Newport, Rhode Island, was Runes first work he designed for the Vanderbilt family.Coined Newborn’s grandest “cottages,” The Breakers is a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s “social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America” (The Preservation Society of Newport County). Hunts other most famous work he helped design for the Vanderbilt family is the grand Biltmore Estate, a statuesque country mansion in Asheville, North Carolina. Working closely with Frederick Law Limited, Hunt designed the main house, keeping with the French Renaissance style identified with the Vanderbilt family (Roth).The Biltmore Estate, built of steel and Indian limestone with the latest modern amenities, is the largest house Hunt ever designed, containing more than 250 rooms. It combines elements from French chateaux, including a “grand stair and a front axial garden rising to a hilltop” (Roth). The immense house accommodated both Hunts and Vanderbilt dreams they had for the mansion.

Other works include Hunts design of the base for the Statue of Liberty and he central portion of the Fifth Avenue facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.Hunts greatest impact on American architecture was his involvement with the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. A committee of America’s most important architects was formed to design the temporary buildings for the fair under Daniel H. Burnham. Hunts influence as the profession’s leading architect, lead him to direct the entire plan along Beaux-Arts lines (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness). The many buildings were around a large Court of Honor and Hunts Administration Building stood at he head Of its lagoon.It was agreed upon by the committee that the materials used would reflect the Italian Renaissance, stucco painted white, and all the buildings would maintain a uniform sixty-foot-high cornice line (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness).

Coined “The White City,” the World’s Columbian Exposition captivated Americans and “started a movement that produced proposals for new civic cores in cities nationwide” (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness). Respected by many, Richard Morris Hunt greatly impacted America with his prestigious designs and knowledge of architecture.Another great American architect and often called the masters of modern architecture was Frank Lloyd Wright. During the United States’ second century, Wright “engaged and endeavored to shape American democracy’s emergence and evolution in the modern world” (Macerate). Wright sought to develop a respected architecture for the young and changing America in the twentieth century. Frank Lloyd Wright was born on June 8, 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin (Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation). As a child, Wright and his family moved around a lot, but eventually settled down back in Madison, Wisconsin.

After his parent’s divorce, Wright worked for the dean of the University of Wisconsin department of engineering while also studying at the university. Wright was always intrigued with artistic and special studies and in 1887, he left Madison for Chicago, where he worked in the architectural office of Joseph Lyman Sessile. However, Wright aspired to work for Adler and Sullivan, an architectural firm that “drew from nature for its ornament while creating simple, modern forms” (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness). In 1888, Wright accepted a five year contract as a draftsman for Adler and Sullivan.Wright designed and built his first home in Oak Park. Wright was unique in his design, experimenting with various geometric shapes and volumes. Oak Park was a “modest residence reminiscent of the East Coast shingle style with its prominent roof gable” (Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation).

Wrights home soon became his studio for his own practice he established after he was fired from Adler and Sullivan for designing other houses outside of office time (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness). Chicago was newly developing and its residents wanted value for their money and were willing to let Wright experiment with his designs.Early in his independent career, Wright experimented with different styles including, Colonial, Tudor, Georgian, Shingle Style, and Queen Ann (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness). Wright later developed his own style, after the rolling land of the prairie. The Prairie Style homes Wright designed emphasized horizontal lines and sat close to the ground and seemed to be tied organically to the landscape surrounding it. Wright’s first independent commission was the home of William H. Winslow in 1893.

The structure is symmetrical and organized around a central replace dominated by horizontal lines.The home greatly exemplified Wright’s Prairie Style, with its low-pitched roof, deep overhangs, and low placement of windows which personified the horizontal theme (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness). Wright went on to design many other homes using the Prairie Style, his last being the Robbie House, built for Frederick Robbie in 1909. The design included a three-story structure that separated Robe’s work and living area. The low wall in front of the house shields the ground floor from the noisy street and allowed privacy for the family.Wright’s cantilevered roof n the second level of the Robbie House was constructed of welded steel beams, which marked the first use of welded steel in residential construction (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness). Wright designed everything for the Robbie house; furniture, fixtures, and he went as far as designing clothing for Mrs.

. Robbie to wear while entertaining (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness). The Robbie House is Wright’s most celebrated house from the first phase of his career. Wright’s career also included commercial buildings as well. Two of Wright’s most notable works were the Larkin Building in New York and unity Temple in Oak Park.The Larkin Building was a vertical six-story building with a full- height sky lit atrium in the center, which introduced the natural environment into the workplace. This became one Wright’s most widely published designs, especially in Europe, where it ‘ USA emulated by various designers” (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness).

Sadly the Larkin Building was demolished in 1949 and turned into a parking lot. Unlike the Larkin Building, unity Temple still stands today and serves its original functions. Wrights first experiment with concrete and the first attempt anywhere to use it straightforwardly, was used n the exterior of unity Temple.Due to its location on a busy street, Wright turned the building inward to reduce the noise. The inside of the building richly glows of amber and gold as light shines through the skylights in the center of the main floor (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness). Unity Temple is considered to be one of Wright’s most important structures. Wright’s reputation quickly spread worldwide and after working in Japan constructing the Imperial Hotel, Wright traveled back to America and was commissioned to design a vacation house in the mountains of Peephole, Pennsylvania for E.

J. Kaufmann, Sir.Wrights Flamethrowers perhaps the most famous house that was not built for royalty anywhere in the world. The most notable feature of the site of Billingsgate is a “rocky outcropping where a small stream falls over a series of ledges” (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness). Wright chose to plant the house beside the stream, letting the balconies hang over it. All of the elements, from the quarried stone to the glass floating between slate floors, minimize the distinction between interior and exterior. The stones of the pillars appear to grow straight up from the ground (AFAIK, Movement and Woodenness).

Billingsgate quickly became famous and is now a National Historic Landmark. Still to this day, Wright remains by far the most widely recognized Modern architect in the world. Richard Morris Hunt and Frank Lloyd Wright are two very important, yet different architects that influenced American architecture. Each architect had different styles and constructed different building, but both greatly impacted Architecture in America throughout their careers. Hunt was known for his lavish and ornate European style structures, while Wright’s designs contained more contemporary ideals of Transcendentalism.

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