"I believe in God, only I spell it Nature."
Last Friday, we at MIIM Designs celebrated Frank Lloyd Wright's Birthday. Granted, if Wright was alive today he would have been 157 years old; sadly, I never got to personally meet Wright. He died in 1959 at the age of 92. However, having lived and practiced architecture in Arizona, the "Wright Country", I allowed myself to be absorbed in the manifesto of Frank Lloyd Wright. Also, I had the luxury and opportunity to meet Wright's family, explicitly, Wright's grandson at one of the last residential homes that he designed.
"'Think simple' as my old master used to say - meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest of terms, getting back to first principles."
His method of teaching and practicing architecture is unprecedented. Nevertheless, those who did get a chance to learn from the "Wright School of Architecture", are determined to pass on his legacy. Hence, when we celebrated Wright's birthday, we went through the 10-Point Manifesto for His Apprentices:
1. An honest ego in a healthy body.
2. An eye to see nature
3. A heart to feel nature
4. Courage to follow nature
5. The sense of proportion (humor)
6. Appreciation of work as idea and idea as work
7. Fertility of imagination
8. Capacity for faith and rebellion
9. Disregard for commonplace (inorganic) elegance
10. Instinctive cooperation
Although the list is quite short, it is packed with lots of big ideas. It got us thinking and spending the rest of the afternoon talking about the work, teaching and legacy of Wright. We came up with the top 20 best quotes of Wright to celebrate the month of June:
Nature + Architecture:
1. "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."
2. “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."
3. "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."
4. “Organic architecture seeks superior sense of use and a finer sense of comfort, expressed in organic simplicity."
5. “Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders' spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to everyone and married to the ground."
6. "Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
Architecture + Man:
7. "An expert is a man who has stopped thinking-he knows!"
8. "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."
9. "Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral."
10. "Respect the masterpiece. It is true reverence to man. There is no quality so great, none so much needed now."
11. "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."
12. "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."
13. “Every great architect is - necessarily - a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age."
Architecture + Life:
14. "The truth is more important than the facts."
15. "There is nothing more uncommon than common sense."
16. "I feel a strange disease coming on - humility."
17. "The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind."
18. "Early in life, I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasion to change."
19. "Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art."
20. "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."
Celebrating Wright's birthday, forced us to articulate our values at MIIM Designs and as designers. Join us as we celebrate the month of June as Frank Lloyd Wright's month and share with us your manifesto and way of life.
Maryam Eskandari is Founder and CEO of MIIM Designs LLC