Organic architecture in the urban environment
Powell, Brian L.
MetadataShow full item record
Followers of organic architecture can be divided into two groups, those that have classical sympathies, and those that have gothic. This is in reference to the origins of organic architecture in the nineteenth century rivalry between the gothic revival movement and the neoclassical. Organic architecture grew from the rationalist philosophies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and John Ruskin were the primary influences on Frank LLoyd Wright, who could be called the first organic architect. He said that organic form grows its own structure out of conditions as a plant grows out of the soil. 1 While most of his writings about architecture relied on similar metaphors to convey his meaning, his architecture followed a strict logic which is not conveyed in his writing. One particular critic understood this when he said, "In this sense the laws of organic planning find their continuation and completion in the external structure; and the manifold arrangement of parts, the lively grouping of building masses, are to be viewed as a result of the inner logic of design, and not as a brilliant showpiece of a deliberately picturesque building. "2 This thesis involves an exploration of four approaches to organic architecture. It became apparent that architects with classical sympathies, such as Alvar Aalto, have had more success in designing within the urban environment than those architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright3 , who were sympathetic to the relatively "modem" teachings of Ruskin and Viollet-le-Duc. The term "modem" is used to highlight the historical position of these two architects, who were seeking to replace Neoclassical architecture with an architecture that was appropriate to their time. That was one of Wright's goals. Aalto was able to incorporate many influences into his architecture. This thesis is based on the following two hypotheses: (l) Despite Wright's antithapy toward cities, the urban environment is appropriate for organic architecture.4 (2) Organic architecture both influences and reflects the organic nature of the urban environment. The written thesis will be informed and supported by the design exploration of a library for Ellis County, Texas.