Books on Designers

21 Books on Frank Lloyd Wright

April 9, 2014

Updated: June 8, 2017. Celebrate the 150th birthday of Frank Lloyd Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867–April 9, 1959), by re-reading our list of 21 books from our contributors on the American architectural icon.

1
Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright (Studies and Executed Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright) Frank Lloyd Wright

One hundred lithographs of Wright’s studies and realized buildings that make up what is often called the “Wasmuth Portfolio.”

2
The Decorative Designs of Frank Lloyd Wright David A. Hanks

From the Publisher. Determined to create a completely integrated environment, Wright designed not only buildings, but furnishings, fixtures, appliances, decorative items and more. Noted architectural and design authority David Hanks has provided an informative, insightful text, along with over 200 line drawings and photos. This edition coantains a new preface by the author.

3
The Essential Frank Lloyd Wright: Critical Writings on Architecture Frank Lloyd Wright
Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer Editor

From the Publisher. He was the most iconoclastic of architects, and at the height of his career his output of writings about architecture was as prolific and visionary as his architecture itself. Frank Lloyd Wright pioneered a bold new kind of architecture, one in which the spirit of modern man truly "lived in his buildings." The Essential Frank Lloyd Wright is a one-volume compendium of Wright's most critically important--and personally revealing--writings on every conceivable aspect of his craft. Wright was perhaps the most influential and inspired architect of the twentieth century, and this is the only book that gathers all of his most significant essays, lectures, and articles on architecture. Bruce Pfeiffer includes each piece in its entirety to present the architect's writings as he originally intended them. Beginning early in Wright's career with "The Art and Craft of the Machine" in 1901, the book follows major themes through The Disappearing City, The Natural House, and many other writings, and ends with A Testament in 1957, published two years before his death. This volume is beautifully illustrated with original drawings and photographs, and is complemented by Pfeiffer's general introduction, which provides history and context. The Essential Frank Lloyd Wright is a must-have resource for architects and scholars and a delight for general readers.

4
Fallingwater: A Frank Lloyd Wright Country House Edgar Kaufmann Jr. et al.

From Publisher. Considered Frank Lloyd Wright's domestic masterpiece, Fallingwater is recognized worldwide as the paradigm of organic architecture. Here, in beautiful photographs, the first as-built measured plans, and an intimate narrative by the only key figure still alive, is the fascinating story of this masterwork.

5
Frank Lloyd Wright Meryle Secrest

From the Publisher. Focuses on Wright’s family history, personal adventures, and colorful friends and family. Secrest had unprecedented access to an archive of over one hundred thousand of Wright’s letters, photographs, drawings, and books. She also interviewed surviving devotees, students, and relatives. The result is an explicit portrait of both the genius architect and the provocative con-man.

6
Frank Lloyd Wright Ada Louise Huxtable

From the Publisher. Renowned architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable’s biography of Frank Lloyd Wright looks at the architect and the man, from his tumultuous personal life to his long career as a master builder. Along the way she introduces Wright’s masterpieces— from the tranquil Fallingwater to Taliesin, rebuilt after tragedy and murder—not only exploring the mind of the man who drew the blueprints but also delving into the very heart of the medium, which he changed forever.

7
Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings, Vol. 1, 1894–1930 Frank Lloyd Wright
Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer Editor
Introduction by Kenneth Frampton

The first in a five-volume collection of Wright's writings assembled by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. (Out of print)

8
Frank Lloyd Wright: The Buildings Alan Weintraub
Alan Hess

From the Publisher. Accompanying Rizzoli’s best-selling Frank Lloyd Wright: The Houses, this exceptional publication features Wright’s major projects and programs, including such masterpieces as the Guggenheim Museum, Marin County Civic Center, Unity Temple, Johnson Wax, Taliesin, and Taliesin West, to name only a few. Also included is stunning archival imagery of the great demolished buildings, such as the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, as well as inspiring visions of the great unbuilt work drawn by Wright, including The Baghdad Opera House and The Mile High "Illinois," among others. Extensive, all new color photography shows the buildings to an extent rarely seen (including such little-known gems as Beth Shalom Synagogue, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, and Lindholm Gas Station). Frank Lloyd Wright: The Buildings invites a reevaluation of Wright’s work and is a must-have for anyone interested in this very important American architect.

9
Frank Lloyd Wright: American Master Alan Weintraub
Kathryn Smith

From the Publisher. Frank Lloyd Wright presents a stunning overview of the work of this towering American genius, encompassing the entirety of Wright’s long and extraordinarily prolific career. From his earliest work, such as the Home and Studio in Oak Park, IL, of 1889, to the wonderfully evocative textile block houses of Los Angeles of the mid-1920s, to such seminal masterpieces as Fallingwater, of 1935, in the Pennsylvania wilderness, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, of 1956, in New York, the book offers an extraordinarily abundant trove of architectural riches. Featuring more than a hundred discrete works, from the well known to the obscure, expertly discussed in the text of highly respected Wright scholar Kathryn Smith, Frank Lloyd Wright weaves a gorgeous tapestry that will engage the mind and delight the eye.

10
Frank Lloyd Wright: Architect Terence Riley Editor

From the Publisher. From the turn of the century until his death in 1959, Frank Lloyd Wright produced an almost uninterrupted stream of projects that redefined the American architectural vision. The most comprehensive summary and appraisal of Wright’s achievement ever assembled, with nearly 500 illustrations, including 190 in color, this volume presents an impressive array of works: single family houses that provided images and models for generations of suburban buildings across the United States, community solutions to housing for Depression America, and an astonishing progression of landmark commercial and institutional structures. In these pages appear Wright’s most spectacular commissions—among them Fallingwater, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Tokyo's Imperial Hotel—but also a retrospective selection of other projects from all periods of his enormously productive career. Photographs of actual buildings and of models, plans, and sketches, as well as reproductions of the architect's masterful drawings, many previously unpublished, are all included.

11
Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography Frank Lloyd Wright

From the Publisher. Frank Lloyd Wright exerted perhaps the greatest influence on 20th-century design. In a volume that continues to resonate more than 70 years after its initial publication, Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography contains the master architect}s own account of his work, his philosophy, and his personal life, written with his signature wit and charm.

12
Frank Lloyd Wright Designs Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer

From the Publisher. Frank Lloyd Wright was an architect of vast and unprecedented vision, whose work is not only still admired by the critics and carefully studied by historians but is also widely beloved. Comfortable spaces, humanly scaled, with extraordinary attention to detail—as seen in a range of architectural forms—are at the center of Wright’s enduring appeal. This vision and attention is nowhere more evident than in the drawings. It has been said that had Wright left us only drawings, and not his buildings as well, he would still be celebrated for his brilliant artistry, and this is borne out here. Even more significant, and shown here as never before, are the magical first moments of invention and inspiration—Wright’s earliest sketches, some never before published—which offer unique insight into the mind of the master architect.Frank Lloyd Wright Designs is the most important and comprehensive book to be published on the drawings, designs, conceptual sketches, elevations, and plans of Wright, with particular emphasis on the development of certain important projects. It includes the best-known and beloved projects—like Fallingwater, The Coonley House, Midway Gardens, the Guggenheim, the Imperial Hotel—as well as extremely intriguing, unfamiliar, and previously unpublished drawings by Wright.

13
Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward Richard Cleary

From the Publisher. Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward features a lifetime of achievement by this titan of American architecture through newly commissioned contemporary photography, archival photography, and wonderfully detailed drawings of more than 200 projects, including such masterworks as the S. C. Johnson & Sons Administration Building in Wisconsin, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and Taliesin West, Wright’s desert home in Arizona, as well as less-known projects designed for Baghdad, Iraq, and beyond. The book is richly accompanied by authoritative text from some of the most important Frank Lloyd Wright scholars and writers at work today, and presents a timely reevaluation of the work and life of Frank Lloyd Wright within the context of social spaces, in the spirit of the exhibition.

14
The Future of Architecture Frank Lloyd Wright

A collection of Wright's major statements on architecture from 1930 to the present.

15
The Japanese Print: An Interpretation Frank Lloyd Wright

From the Publisher. The influence that Japan—as well as its culture and architecture—exerted on the celebrated American architect Frank Lloyd Wright is most evident in his own creations. Unlike his contemporaries in the United States who viewed European architecture as part of their heritage, Wright chose Japan and the Japanese culture as his aesthetic model. This influence was also reflected in his collections of art objects, sculptures and, above all, prints. In 1906, he displayed his ukiyo-e woodblock print collection at an exhibition of Hiroshige’s works held at the Art Institute of Chicago. He had begun assembling the prints a year earlier, during his first trip to Japan. As one of the pioneer collectors of such works in the West, and an astute art dealer, he immediately developed an interpretive theory which he published 100 years ago (1912)—The Japanese Print: An Interpretation. The book became a fundamental reference work for experts and amateurs of Japanese art and for anyone seriously striving to understand Wright's architecture.

16
Letters to Clients Frank Lloyd Wright
Selected and with commentary by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer

The third book of letters written by Wright (he wrote the first to apprentices and the second to architects). This book includes letters from Wright to his clients, and a few from his clients as well, revealing his thought process from design to construction.

17
Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright Brendan Gill

From the Publisher. Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) is often described as the greatest of American architects. His works—among them Taliesin North, Taliesin West, Fallingwater, the Johnson Wax buildings, the Guggenheim Museum—earned him a good measure of his fame, but his flamboyant personal life earned him the rest. Here Brendan Gill, a personal friend of Wright and his family, gives us not only the fullest, fairest, and most entertaining account of Wright to date, but also strips away the many masks the architect tirelessly constructed to fascinate his admirers and mislead his detractors. Enriched by hitherto unpublished letters and 300 photographs and drawings, this definitive biography makes Wright, in all his creativity, crankiness, and zest, fairly leap from its pages.

18
Modern Architecture: Being the Kahn Lectures for 1930 Frank Lloyd Wright
Neil Levine

From the Publisher. Modern Architecture is a landmark text—the first book in which America's greatest architect put forth the principles of a fundamentally new, organic architecture that would reject the trappings of historical styles while avoiding the geometric abstraction of the machine aesthetic advocated by contemporary European modernists. One of the most important documents in the development of modern architecture and the career of Frank Lloyd Wright, Modern Architecture is a provocative and profound polemic against America's architectural eclecticism, commercial skyscrapers, and misguided urban planning. The book is also a work of savvy self-promotion, in which Wright not only advanced his own concept of an organic architecture but also framed it as having anticipated by decades—and bettered—what he saw as the reductive modernism of his European counterparts. Based on the 1931 original, for which Wright supplied the cover illustration, this beautiful edition includes a new introduction that puts Modern Architecture in its broader architectural, historical, and intellectual context for the first time. The subjects of these lively lectures—from "Machinery, Materials and Men" to "The Tyranny of the Skyscraper" and "The City"—move from a general statement of the conditions of modern culture to particular applications in the fields of architecture and urbanism at ever broadening scales. Wright's vision in Modern Architecture is ultimately to equate the truly modern with romanticism, imagination, beauty, and nature—all of which he connects with an underlying sense of American democratic freedom and individualism.

19
The Natural House Frank Lloyd Wright

From the Publisher (1954). The world's greatest architect here meets the urgent problem of suitable shelter for The Family in a democracy, in a magnificent and—as was to be expected—challenging book. Here, presented at last in full detail, is the natural house. The moderate cost houses described in this book and profusely illustrated with 116 photographs, plans and drawings, are houses—of infinite variety for people of limited means - in which living has become for their owners a purposeful new adventure in freedom and dignity. Mr. Wright tells the story of the world famous 'Usonian' houses, so that we now see, in text and illustrations, how they have evolved from original conception to final execution. He has also written a step-by-step description of the “Usonian Automatic,” explaining just how that remarkable house is built—a simplified method of construction so devised that the owners themselves can build it with great economy and beauty. For this purpose, there are, in addition to Mr. Wright's text, special photographs and drawings of the method and materials, showing clearly how the Usonian Automatic is built. For more than a half century Frank Lloyd Wright has been the prophet of a new idea in architecture. It is called “organic architecture.” It has spread throughout the world. Its liberating influence now appears—or semblances of it appear—nearly every structure being built.

20
Saving Wright Jeffrey M. Chusid

From the Publisher. The story of the Freeman House, and of the attempt to save it, entails almost all of the provocative issues that make historic preservation as a field so fascinating, technologically and theoretically complex, and politically charged.

Saving Wright is the 2014 winner of the Antoinette Forrester Downing Book Award, presented by the Society of Architectural Historians for the outstanding publication devoted to historical issues in the preservation field.

Read Author Q&A on Designers & Books.

21
Taliesen Diary Priscilla J. Henken
Sarah Leavitt Editor

From the Publisher. The first publication of the diary of a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice, 1942–43, with notes, contextual essays, and contemporaneous photographs.

Priscilla J. Henken lived at Taliesin with her husband, David, as part of The Fellowship, the group of acolytes who made Taliesin an architectural colony from the 1930s through the 1950s. Her lively description of day-to-day life on a communal working farm in south central Wisconsin provides unique insights into the world of Wright during the period and will fascinate Wright enthusiasts as well as those with specialized interest in midcentury architecture; social and spiritual movements; and the clash of cultures represented by two socialist, Jewish New Yorkers and the Midwestern farm community at Taliesin. Henken vividly describes the daily program, from cooking duties to editing the great architect’s autobiography and watching films. The internecine battles of the apprentices and the contentious relationship between Wright, the apprentices, and his third wife, Olgivanna Lazovich, enliven the account. Annotations supplement the diary, and accompanying essays by several scholars explore the cultural history of the period.

22
Young Frank, Architect Frank Viva

From The Museum of Modern Art/Abrams. MoMA’s first storybook for kids follows the adventures of Young Frank, a resourceful young architect who lives in New York City with his grandfather, Old Frank, who is also an architect. Young Frank likes to use anything he can get his hands on—macaroni, old boxes, spoons, and sometimes even his dog, Eddie—to create wiggly chairs and twisting skyscrapers. But Old Frank doesn’t think that’s how REAL architects make things. One day they visit The Museum of Modern Art, and learn that architects can do more than either of them realized. Written by award-winning children’s author and illustrator Frank Viva, Young Frank, Architect is an inspiration for budding architects as well as those who think they’ve seen it all.

 

Spread from Young Frank, Architect, ©Frank Viva (2013, The Museum of Modern Art)
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