Form Follows Function
Form Follows Function
As a young architect Frank Lloyd Wright worked for Louis Sullivan (1856-1924) in his Chicago-based architectural firm. Sullivan is known for steel-frame construction that led to the emergence of the skyscraper. Sullivan's famous axiom, "Form follows function," became the touchstone for many architects. This meant that the purpose of a building should be the starting point for its design. This principle is thoroughly visible in the plan for the Guggenheim Museum. According to Wright's design, visitors would enter the building, take an elevator to the top and enjoy a continuous art-viewing experience while descending along the spiral ramp.
To examine this principle, observe some common objects. A pencil, comb, scissors, fork, or some similar object, would be good choices for demonstration.
Suggested Discussion Topic
Discuss the concept of form and function as they relate to your school. What is the function of a classroom? Of a school building? Does the school's design suit its function? Are there ways in which the school's structure fails to meet the daily needs of the students and educators who use it? Brainstorm a list of suggestions for improving your school by changing elements of its design.
Name of Object:
1. Describe the purpose of this object (its function).
2. Write directions for how the object should be used.
3. Describe its design (or form) as completely as possible. Include a description of its shape, material(s), color, texture, weight, and any other details you can observe.
4. Describe how the design of the object is connected to its use.
5. Name one thing you could change in the design of the object that would make it less functional.
6. Can you think of an improvement to make the object more functional?
A Long-Awaited Tribute: Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian House and Pavilion
July 27, 2012–Ongoing
This presentation, comprised of selected materials from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, pays homage to the first Frank Lloyd Wright–designed structures in New York City.
Works & Process
Plan Your Visit
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue
(at 89th Street)
New York, NY 10128-0173
Hours & Ticketing
Sun 10 am–5:45 pm
Mon 10 am–5:45 pm
Tue 10 am–5:45 pm
Wed 10 am–5:45 pm
Fri 10 am–5:45 pm
Sat 10 am–7:45 pm
See Plan Your Visit for more information on ticketing.
Students and Seniors (65 years +) with valid ID $18
Children 12 and under Free
Multimedia guides are free with admission.
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