Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 - 1959) is America's best known architect, a genius, self-promoter, admired teacher, failed businessman. With the Guggenheim Museum and Fallingwater, the house built over a waterfall, he created architectural icons. In 70 years he designed over 1000 buildings of which 500 were realized. In July 2019, eight of these structures were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Even today his influence holds strong over subsequent generations of architects. "I am the greatest architect who ever lived," it is said he once boasted. He knew no compromise, either in his professional or his private life. "Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility: I chose the former and have seen no reason to change." Behind this was a sensitive and warm-hearted person, who never bowed to social morals ("Love is moral even without legal marriage, but marriage is immoral without love.") but who sought and found his ethics in nature. For him, a house should appear as if it had grown out of its surroundings. He called it "Organic Architecture", we call it today "Eco-Architecture". Wright is an architectural genius whose life could be a feature film. He survived scandels, murders, fire, divorces, bankruptcies, and social disdain. Time and time again he rose like a phoenix from the ashes. We’ll portray Wright's life and work with film footage, photos and conversations with architects, historians and the author T.C. Boyle, who lives in a Wright house and wrote a bestseller about the master's wives („The Women“). Wright himself speaks to us in interviews, through excerpts from his lectures and quotes from his autobiography. Selected buildings of his that are typical for his work, we will shoot anew.
SWR in cooperation with Arte
A film by
cinematographer: Jürgen Carle
sound: Michael Kirn
editing: Petra Hölge
graphics: Nina Pfeiffer, Tina Obladen, Stefan Armbruster
commissioning editor: Eva Witte