For years, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s web presence has been minimal. Though the foundation has been the steward of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural legacy since he established it in 1940, to find a full list of his works, you’d have to go to Wikipedia or some other third-party site.
Finally, now the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has a website worthy of its legendary namesake. Wright built more than 500 buildings in his lifetime and pioneered Prairie style, the first uniquely American style of architecture. The new web design, created by New York-based studio Eight and a Half over the course of a year, manages to recall Wright’s visual style while still maintaining a 21st-century sensibility.
“We took as many cues from him as we could,” Bonnie Siegler, founder of Eight and a Half, says in a phone interview. That includes a color palette that uses Wright’s signature rust red, the same hue that the architect used for signed tiles that he placed in the walls of his homes. The typeface, Neutraface, was inspired by the lettering on signage adorning the commercial buildings of architect Richard Neutra, who lived at Wright’s Wisconsin studio Taliesin for a period. The compass on an interactive map of Taliesin West comes straight from Wright’s archives. “The main idea was just to get out of the way, because it’s his vision,” Siegler says. “He had such a singular visual sensibility, so we wanted to respect that and incorporate it.”
The main goal of the site is to become a comprehensive guide to Frank Lloyd Wright. As one of America’s most famous architects, the man has quite a few sites dedicated to his work. But when it comes to Wright–a man who for much of his life lied about both his age and height, among other things–even historians tend to disagree on the facts, and different Wright fansites espouse different information. Siegler and her team sifted through biographies and monographs, records and thousands of images, and consulted with the foundation and its board member Neil Levine, one of Wright’s biographers to make it as accurate as possible. “I know every single picture of him ever taken,” Siegler laughs.
The new foundation site features a complete, searchable list of Wright’s many built designs, interactive elements like a timeline of his life and a detailed map of his studio at Taliesin West–the foundation’s headquarters–and beautiful, dynamic images of Wright’s iconic and little-known buildings. At last, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation website feels worthy of one of the most visionary designers of the 20th century.