“Form follows function — that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in spiritual union.” — FLW
Wright’s basic philosophy of architecture was stated primarily through the house form, and he had few major commissions for public buildings, office buildings or skyscrapers in the early years. The Larkin Administration Building in Buffalo, New York (1903) was his only large-scale non-residential structure prior to the Midway Gardens in Chicago (1913) and the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo ( 1915-16). None of these buildings is standing today.
Nevertheless, two of Wright’s non-residential works of this period are among the most widely admired and imitated architectural works of the century. The Larkin Administration Building in Buffalo and Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois (1904) are considered highly important works. With the prairie houses, these two non-residential works earned him acclaim in Europe where exhibitions of his work hastened the demise of Art Nouveau and stimulated younger architects to seek a new direction.
Links to Photographs and Other Materials
Larkin Building (1903), Buffalo, New York (demolished). Digital 3-D model.
Larkin Building. Site by PBS.org with drawings, photos and discussion.
Larkin Building. Wikipedia article with black and white photograph and discussion.
Larkin Building. “The Larkin Administration Building – A ‘Wright’ of Passage in Buffalo” blog post provides brief historical information about the Larkin Building and provides contemporary accounts of the building’s destruction.
Larkin Building. Wikiarquitectura site; includes discussion, photographs, and drawings.
Unity Church (1904), Oak Park, Illinois. Web site of the Unitarian Universalist congregation; includes information about the history of the building.
Unity Temple. Site by PBS.org with drawings, photos and discussion.
Unity Temple. Official site of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Photographs and discussion.
Unity Temple. Blog post discussing restoration of the building with photographs and historical information.
Unity Temple. Color photographs of interior and exterior.
Unity Temple. Digital Imaging Project. Color images of exterior and interior.
Unity Temple. Interior tour.
First National Bank (1905), Dwight, Illinois. Color photograph.
W. H. Pettit Mortuary Chapel (1906), Belvidere, Illinois. Color photograph.
City National Bank (1909), Mason City, Iowa. Color photographs.
Midway Gardens (1913), Chicago, Illinois. Discussion, photographs, and drawings.
A.D. German Warehouse (1915), Richland Center, Wisconsin. Color photographs & discussion.
German Warehouse. Official site of the A. D. German Warehouse with information about the conservancy and tours.
German Warehouse. Color photographs.
Ravine Bluffs Development Corner Markers (1915), Glencoe, Illinois. Color photographs.
Imperial Hotel. Site by PBS.org with drawings, photos and discussion.
Imperial Hotel. Site by Frist Center for the Visual Arts with color photograph and discussion.
Imperial Hotel. Commentary and list of study resources.