This is Frank Lloyd Wright Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, in Mill Run, Pennsylvania.

(Image credit: Andrew Pielage)

Frank Lloyd Wright is America’s best known architect, and also one of the most prolific. During his lifetime, he designed more than 1,000 buildings, 532 of which were built. More than 400 of those still stand today. 39-year-old Phoenix photographer Andrew Pielage has a very ambitious goal: to photograph every single one of them.

The Thomas P. Hardy House in Racine, Wisconsin.

(Image credit: Andrew Pielage)

He’s already off to a pretty good start. In 2011, Pielage fell in love with Wright’s works on a tour of Taliesin West, the sprawling Scottsdale compound. Later, he obtained permission to photograph the building, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation loved the results so much that he became its unofficial photographer.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio, Oak Park, Illinois.

(Image credit: Andrew Pielage)

To date, Pielage has shot almost 50 Frank Lloyd Wright structures, including the original Taliesin in Wisconsin, Unity Temple, and the Marin County Civic Center, which was one of Wright’s last projects. His photographs are colorful and dynamic, and often highlight parts of the buildings that you don’t typically see in anthologies of Wright’s works.

The S. C. Johnson and Son Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin (also known as the Johnson Wax Building).

(Image credit: Andrew Pielage)

One thing that accounts for the unique look of Pielage’s photos is the fact that he always shoots in natural light. Another is that he takes time to get to know his subjects. He did a three-week residence while shooting Fallingwater, becoming intimately familiar with the structure, its site, and the way the building seems to change in different lights.

If you’re an architecture buff, like I am, chances are you’ve seen many, many photographs of Wright’s best-known buildings. But you’ve never seen them quite like this. Pielage’s photographs are beautiful, arresting, and even occasionally transformative. The S. C. Johnson and Son Administration Building, which I had always found to be one of Wright’s duller designs, turns, in Pielage’s lens, from a fusty mid-century office building to a concrete lollipop-filled wonderland. And Fallingwater, arguably the most photographed of all of Wright’s very well-photographed works, perches like a dancer at the top of a waterfall, or emerges from the mist at the top of a bluff, as if it had been there for a thousand years.

You can read more about Andrew Pielage’s quest to photograph every Frank Lloyd Wright building at Architectural Digest. You can see more of his work on his website, and even more photos on his Instagram.

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