All-Wright Site
Frank Lloyd Wright Quotations
"Truth Against the World"
(Updated during June 1998. More quotes being added all the time)

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"Freedom is from within"

"An expert is a man who has stopped thinking - he knows!"

"The truth is more important than the facts"

"There is nothing more uncommon than common sense"

"The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind"

"An idea is salvation by imagination"

On Life

"The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes"

"Life always rides in strength to victory, not through internationalism . . . but only through the direct responsibility of the individual"

"Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities" - from An Autobiography, 1932.

On Marilyn Monroe

"I think Ms. Monroe's architecture is extremely good architecture"

On television and other diversions

"I wouldn't mind seeing opera die. Ever since I was a boy, I regarded opera as a ponderous anarchronism, almost the equivalent of smoking"

"Television is bubble-gum for the mind"
(This one has also been recorded as "Television is bubble-gum for the eyes")

"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger"

On God and Nature

"I believe in God, only I spell it Nature"

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you"

"God is the great mysterious motivator of what we call nature, and it has been said often by philosophers, that nature is the will of God. And, I prefer to say that nature is the only body of God that we shall ever see. If we wish to know the truth concerning anything, we'll find it in the nature of that thing"

"Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain"

On pepper

"Don't eat it. It will kill you before your time. Avoid it"

On himself

"Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change"

"I feel coming on a strange disease -- humility"

On art and architecture

"The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization"

"Organic architecture seeks superior sense of use and a finer sense of comforat, expressed in organic simplicity."

"Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun"

"Mechanization best serves mediocrity"

"No stream rises higher than its source. What ever man might build could never express or reflect more than he was. He could record neither more nor less than he had learned of life when the buildings were built."

"Classicism is a mask and does not reflect transition. How can such a static expression allow interpretation of human life as we know it? A fire house should not resemble a French Chateau, a bank a Greek temple and a university a Gothic Cathedral. All of the ism are imposition on life itself by way of previous education."

"Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders' spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to environment, married to the ground."

"A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart."

"Less is only more where more is no good"

"Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art"

"Respect the masterpiece. It is true reverence to man. There is no quality so great, none so much needed now."

"The room within is the great fact about the building"

"Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union"

"Every great architect is -- necessarily -- a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age"

The architect must be a prophet . . . a prophet in the true sense of the term . . . if he can't see at least ten years ahead don't call him an architect"

"An architect's most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board, and a wrecking bar at the site"

"Consider everything in the nature of a hanging fixture a weakness, and naked radiators an abomination"

The following quote could perhaps been woven into an introduction to Star Trek :
"Space. The continual becoming: invisible fountain from which all rhythms flow and to which they must pass. Beyond time or infinity"

"The space within becomes the reality of the building"

"Space is the breath of art"

"True ornament is not a matter of prettifying externals. It is organic with the structure it adorns, whether a person, a building, or a park. At its best it is an emphasis of structure, a realization in graceful terms of the nature of that which is ornamented"

"A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines"

On other architects

"All I learned from Eliel Saarinen was how to make out an expense account" (said after he returned from a South American trip with Saarinen)"

"Well, now that he's finished one building, he'll go write four books about it" about Le Corbusier

"He exposes all the function on the top and puts the form below. It's as if you were to wear your entrails on top of your head." (about un-named well known architect of his day)

On government and other institutions

"Toleration and liberty are the foundations of a great republic"

"A free America, democratic in the sense that our forefathers intended it to be, means just this: individual freedom for all, rich or poor, or else this system of government we call democracy is only an expedient to enslave man to the machine and make him like it."

"Democracy is the opposite of totalitarianism, communism, fascism, or mobocracy."

"Maybe we can show government how to operate better as a result of better architecture."

"We should have a system of economics that is structure, that is organic tools. We do not have it. We are all hanging by our eyebrows from skyhooks economically, just as we are architecturally"

"A vital difference between the professional man and a man of business is that money making to the professional man should, by virtue of his assumption, be incidental; to the business man it is primary. Money has its limitations; while it may buy quantity, there is something beyond it and that is quality"

"I believe totally in a Capitalist System, I only wish that someone would try it"

"Bureaucrats: they are dead at 30 and buried at 60. They are like custard pies; you can't nail them to a wall"

" Harvard takes perfectly good plums as students, and turns them into prunes"

On his buildings and his own work

"I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts with my own furniture." (1931)

"Why, I just shake the buildings out of my sleeves"

"The one on my board right now" - What FLW said when asked which of his buildings was the most beautiful

"Move the chair" - Wright's response to a client who phoned him to complain of rain leaking through the roof of the house onto the dining table.

On cities

"It [New York City] is a great monument to the power of money and greed. . .a race for rent "

"Tip the world on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles"

"Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world" (1939)

"Abandon it." -- Frank Lloyd Wright, on being asked how he would go about improving Pittsburgh

More quotes

"'Think simple'" as my old master used to say - meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles."

"Get the habit of analysis- analysis will in time enable synthesis to become your habit of mind."

Other relevant quotes (not by Frank Lloyd Wright)

"If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, the first woodpecker would destroy civilization" (Weinberg's Law)

"There are two things wrong with a Frank Lloyd Wright house. People will hardly let you get one built and will hardly let you live in it when it's done." - client Gregor Affleck

Other Quotation Resources

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