Friday, 7 December 2012

Schindler and Frank Lloyd Wright

“His freedom is perfection. It had no tradition to overcome or prejudice to fight. His work grows quietly out of itself. He is the master of each material, and the modern machine is the base of his form-giving.” 
R.M. Schindler to Richard Neutra on Frank Lloyd Wright

Schindler was first introduced to Wright through the Wasmuth Portfolio in 1910 while he was still in Vienna. He immediately wanted to work for him, and in 1914 moved to Spring Green, Wisconsin. He took an unpaid position as a draftsman for Wright in 1918. This was when Wright was working on the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Here Schindler was largely introduced to Japanese architecture. Wright was frequently away, in between Japan and his office at Taliesen. During these times he left Schindler in charge of his office, though he would later deny this fact. While working on the Hollyhock house, he considered moving to California, where he eventually started his own practice. He was influenced by Wright’s adaptation and incorporation of Japanese architecture, as evident in the light, moveable partition walls in the Schindler House and the Japanese timber frame. 

Wright found space in the Japanese print which, he wrote in his autobiography, “lies a the bottom of all this so-called modernism.” Schindler found it first in Cubism; in his own work he saw into space (McCoy, 152).

Though he was heavily influenced by Wright, Schindler never intended to follow him. He saw that none of Schindler’s draftsmen had “found anything to say for themselves” (McCoy, 151). Schindler took what he did from Wright, but strove to make his own mark. 


  1. Im assuming McCoy, 151 is some sort of reference to a book? could you point me in the right direction?

  2. The author is Esther McCoy, but I can't recall which of her books this is taken from. It's likely that it's Case Study Houses, or Five California Architects or Blueprints for Modernism. Let me know what you find!