Autumn has officially begun and we can’t help but enjoy the crisp mornings, majestic sunsets and changing leaves. Spending time outside is a special time to reflect on the year, gain inspiration and appreciate the beauty in the past, present and to prepare for what the future has in store for us. This month we are reflecting on historic architecture and the lessons we can learn from past architectural innovators.
Thomas Jefferson was more than the third president of the United States. When he was just 26 years old, Jefferson began designing a plantation home outside of Charlottesville, Virginia on a piece of land he inherited from his father. The project evolved over many years adopting elements from many styles. The villa became known as Monticello and is sometimes referred to as Jefferson’s “Essay in Architecture” due to his innovative design of both the architecture and furnishings. He believed that a lot of furniture was unnecessary and pieces such as a dining table were only to be placed in the room when they were being used.
Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most influential architects of all time. His ideas and willingness to stretch architecture to its limits are concepts that many future architects and artists have turned to. Wright had a presence about him that is evident in his architecture. He not only created buildings for his clients but for the land; everything had a purpose and everything related. Wright even designed the furniture for the homes in order to assure a cohesive and comprehensive statement. He chose everything down to the accessories, and nothing was to stray from his vision. Fallingwater is one of the many breathtaking structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The concept of cantilevering over a river is something that was daring. Windows wrap corners of rooms to leave views unobstructed and the focal point of the home, the river, was integrated directly into the home by way of a staircase that leads out underneath the home, into the water. Christine and her family had the privilege of visiting this breathtaking structure this past summer among other structures by Wright.
Preserving historic architecture and learning about wondrous places is exactly what organizations such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Classical Institute of Architecture thankfully accomplish for us to enjoy. The Classical Institute of Architecture uses education, publication and advocacy to teach about architecture and holds travel programs, conferences and lectures among other events for educational purposes. Christine firmly believes in supporting organizations and efforts that preserve architecture around the world.
Architecture is something that should be experienced and appreciated. We are often so focused on our everyday lives that we may overlook our surroundings. We encourage you to look up from your lives, mobile devices and busy days to see something you never knew was there and thank an architect or designer for enabling the function and aesthetic to blend together seamlessly.
“My buildings will be my legacy… they will speak for me long after I am gone.” – Julia Morgan