FLW Quotes

ON ARCHITECTURE

ON AMERICA & FREEDOM

ON EDUCATION

ON GOD & NATURE

​ON CITIES

ON LIFE

ON CULTURE

ON ARCHITECTURE

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.

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.

The good building is not one that hurts the landscape, but one which makes the landscape more beautiful than it was before the building was built.

 

Go to Nature, thou builder of houses, consider her ways and do not be petty and foolish. Let your home appear to grow easily from its site and shape it to sympathize with the surroundings if Nature is manifest there, and if not, try and be as quiet, substantial, and organic as she would have been if she had the chance. In other words, give the matter some intelligent thought, backed by artistic feeling if you can command it, then go to the woods for your color schemes and not to the ribbon counter at "Field's". - The Architect And The Machine, 1894

 

Building becomes architecture only when the mind of man consciously takes it and tries with all his resources to make it beautiful, to put concordance, sympathy with nature, and all that into it. Then you have architecture.

Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union. (Wright’s response to Louis Sullivan who said “Form follow function.”)

We have no longer an outside and an inside as two separate things. Now the outside may come inside and the inside may and does go outside. They are of each other. Form and function thus become one in design and execution if the nature of materials and method and purpose are all in unison.

Less is only more where more is no good. (Wright’s response to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who said “Less is more.”)

I had no choice, Olgivanna. I was under oath. (Frank Lloyd Wright said this immediately after a court appearance when he was asked his "occupation" and answered saying he was "the worlds greatest architect." Oligvanna, his wife, was present in the courthouse and had chided him on his answer.)

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

The only thing wrong with architecture are the architects.

Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun.

I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts with my own furniture. (Wright’s comment on his own furniture designs.)

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.

Every great architect is - necessarily - a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.

The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines - so they should go as far as possible from home to build their first buildings.

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

The room within is the great fact about the building.

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.

All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable.

Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.

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.

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

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.

"Think simple" as my old master (Louis Sullivan) used to say - meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles.

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

The space within becomes the reality of the building.

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.

Well, now that he's finished one building, he'll go write four books about it. (Wright’s comment on fellow architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier.)

 

Architecture is the scientific art of making structure express ideas.


ON AMERICA AND FREEDOM
A free America... 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.

 

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

Toleration and liberty are the foundations of a great republic.

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

Freedom is from within.

Maybe we can show government how to operate better as a result of better architecture.

ON EDUCATION

I found repeatedly confirmed that the inferior mind not only learns by comparison, but loosely confers its superlatives, while the superior mind which learns by analysis refrains from superlatives. I have learned about architecture by root, by world-wide travel and by incessant experiment and experience in the study of nature. In the midst of sensible experiment based always upon preliminary experiments, I never had the courage to lie. Meantime I always lived with all the expressions of beauty I could see. And all those I could acquire and use for study and enjoyment I acquired as my library, but living with them all as I might. I never had much respect for the collector's mind.

​Harvard takes perfectly good plums as students, and turns them into prunes.

 

True study is a form of experience.

The present education system is the trampling of the herd.

Cultivate the poet. The poet is the unacknowledged legislator of this universe and the sooner we knock under to that the better. Get Emerson’s essay on the American scholar and read it once a year.

​Culture is developed from within and education is to be groomed from without.

When anyone becomes an authority, that is the end of him as far as development is concerned.

Education, of course, is always based on what was. Education shows you what has been and leaves you to make the deduction as to what may be. Education as we pursue it cannot prophesy, and does not.

An expert is a man who has stopped thinking because ‘he knows.’

You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having.

There is no real development without integrity, that is — a love of truth.

ON GOD AND NATURE
God is the great mysterious motivator of what we call nature, and it has often been said 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.

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.

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

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.

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.

There is nothing higher, that I can see, than the deep and full understanding and appreciation of the beauty around you.

ON CITIES
New York City is a great monument to the power of money and greed... a race for rent.

 

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

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

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.

Abandon it. (Wright’s response when asked how he would improve Pittsburgh.)

ON LIFE
Any man who really has faith in himself will be dubbed arrogant by his fellows.

 

You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having.

 

Life is truth...

The truth is more important than the facts.

An expert is a man who has stopped thinking - he knows!

Youth is a quality, not a matter of circumstances.

Youth is not an age thing. It's a quality. Once you've had it, you never lose it.

Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old.

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

There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.

I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.

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


The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.

 

The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.

An idea is salvation by imagination.

The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope.

Get the habit of analysis - analysis will in time enable synthesis to become your habit of mind.

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

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

 

I feel coming on a strange disease - humility.

Mechanization best serves mediocrity.

The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind.

I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.

Love is the virtue of the Heart,
Sincerity is the virtue of the Mind,
Decision is the virtue of the Will,
Courage is the virtue of the Spirit.

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

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.

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

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

You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having.

ON CULTURE
Television is chewing gum for the eyes.

 

Art for art's sake is a philosophy of the well-fed.

Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art.
The measure of a man's culture is the measure of his appreciation. We are ourselves what we appreciate and no more.

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

I wouldn't mind seeing opera die. Ever since I was a boy, I regarded opera as a ponderous anarchronism, almost the equivalent of smoking.

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

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

Space is the breath of art.

If it sells, it's art.

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.

The Lincoln Memorial is related to the toga and the civilization that wore it.

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.

 

 

 

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