The Appeal of the Hearth: Fireplaces + America’s Most Famous Architect

During his lifetime (1867-1959), Frank Lloyd Wright dominated American architecture—and in a way, he still does today.

Wright designed more than 1,000 structures, and in nearly every one of them there was at least one fireplace – if not five or six. Fireplaces were the focal points of the homes he designed, and most of them were massive both in terms of size and commanding presence. “The fireplace?” Wright once wrote, “The heart of the home itself.” He knew that fire evokes a primal sentiment in people, drawing us close to the warmth of the fire and closer to each other.

Wright’s Fireplaces
In his own homes, Wright always wanted to be in the presence of a fire. That’s why between his three homes, there were 44 fireplaces – almost every room had a fireplace. They were usually constructed of stone or brick, and some incorporated additional natural elements like wood and tile. In the early years of his career, Wright’s fireplaces were symmetrical, perhaps reflecting the formal influence of the Victorian era. But during the years of the industrial revolution, they became more asymmetrical and abstract – perhaps a reflection of the shifting social norms of the time.

Fireplaces designed by Frank Lloyd Wright were usually massive with a commanding presence.
photo credit: fireplace via photopin (license)

Want to see more of Wright’s fireplaces? There’s an expansive photo collection of his fireplace designs on Pinterest here (https://www.pinterest.com/lilher777/frank-lloyd-wright-fireplaces/).

Organic Architecture
Frank Lloyd Wright’s affinity for natural elements, such as fire in the hearth, was one of his most revered qualities. He was first to introduce the philosophy of organic architecture in design, creating harmony between the natural world and human habitation in structures. When we look at trends today, he was a pioneer of modern architecture, as his philosophy is clearly evident in homes designed today. Many homeowners want spaces that incorporate indoor/outdoor connections with features like expansive windows for natural light, outdoor kitchens, covered patios adjacent to dining areas, and natural building materials like wood and stone.

photo credit: Graycliff via photopin (license)photo credit: FLlW Open Roof via photopin (license)

Fallingwater
Wright’s philosophy is best exemplified by Fallingwater, a home he designed in Mill Run, Pennsylvania in 1935. Designated a National Historic Landmark, Fallingwater is included in the Smithsonian’s 28 Places to See Before you Die. If design and architecture interest you, we’d recommend adding Fallingwater to your bucket list!

Fallingwater is often referred to as "The best all-time work of American architecture."
photo credit: Fallingwater House - Frank Lloyd Wright (1937) via photopin (license)

The Legacy
Frank Lloyd Wright was a household name during his lifetime, but 30+ years after he passed away, the American Institute of Architects recognized him as "the greatest American architect of all time." He was the first to create harmonious spaces where structures, furnishings and surroundings became part of a unified and sustainable composition, and fireplaces were always central to his home designs.

If Frank Lloyd Wright as alive today, we think he would have liked the Heat & Glo Twilight II. It’s a see-through fireplace designed specifically to connect the indoor and outdoor environments of a home with one fireplace. You can sit outside on the patio and enjoy the fire, or sit inside the house and enjoy the same fireplace.

From all of us at Heat & Glo, enjoy the fire like Frank did!

Headline photo credit: Taliesin East via photopin (license)

References: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fireplaces, Carla Lind, 1995

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