Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most admired and influential architects of the 20th century. He was a flamboyant, unabashedly arrogant man who viewed himself from an early age as a genius. Others tended to agree. In 1991, The American Institute of Architects named Wright the greatest American architect of all time.
Wright believed that the adage “form follows function” was something of a misstatement. “Form and function should be one,” he said, “joined in a spiritual union.” A sense of spiritual union ran all through Wright’s work. He identified God with Nature (which he spelled with a capital “N”) and strove to design buildings that were in harmony with their natural surroundings. “No house should ever be on a hill or on anything,” Wright wrote in his 1932 autobiography. “It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.”
Wright spoke about life and the creativity of man in mystical terms. In this rare recording from June 18, 1957, a 90-year-old Wright describes his philosophy. “Man is a phase of Nature,” he says, “and only as he is related to Nature does he matter, does he have any account whatever above the dust.”