A Brief Introduction to Organic Architecture

fallingwater-organic-architecture (Image: Figuura, cc-sa-3.0)

Organic architecture is a philosophy that considers a building to be like an organism, in that it is an organised body of fixtures, fittings and furniture that functions as a whole. Organic buildings should also fit in to their natural environment and relate to the other organisms that live there in the same way that any organism would within a habitat.

organic-architecture (Image: Emiel Ketelaarcc-sa-3.0)

The spirituality of the buildings and their harmonious relationships with their inhabitants are also important factors of organic architecture, which stems from the needs of the immediate environment and the lives of the people within it. It is thus more a method than a distinctive style and some strikingly urban creations exist as a result.


fallingwater-organic-architecture-3 (Images: Raunaq Guptacc-sa-3.0; Library of Congress, public domain)

The first use of the term is credited to the architect and interior designer, Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the Kaufmann Residence known as Fallingwater in 1935 at the age of 67. Sitting partially above a waterfall in Pennsylvania, this house is regarded by many as a definitive example of organic architecture and was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

organic-architecture-4 (Image: Jones2jy, public domain)

From original thinkers like Wright’s mentor, Louis Sullivan (1856–1924), to modern eco-friendly innovators such as Eric Corey Freed and David Pearson, organic architecture has continued to evolve for over a century, producing some exciting specimens.


organic-architecture-3 (Image: KaboldyHiromitsu Morimotocc-sa-3.0Manfred Brueckels, public domain)

Many notable organic buildings look like they have been grown from seeds during the design process and claim to be capable of bringing people closer to nature for the good of the soul and the planet.

stockholm-metro-organic-architecture-1 (Image: Alexander Dragunov, reproduced with permission)

Keep reading – check out the Incredible Organic Architecture of Stockholm’s Metro Stations (above).


About the author: Alexandra Smith



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