(This is Part 1 of a three-part series. See Part 2: Freethinkers advance architectural frontier and Part 3: Architecture schools push testing, not practice.) Though some of my colleagues might cringe to hear it, non-architects–those who lacked either the formal schooling or the license to legally use the title "architect"–have had a huge impact on American architecture over the past century. If they weren't architects in the legal sense, they more than lived up to the title's original meaning of "master builder." Why not start at the top? Frank Lloyd Wright's only formal training consisted of a year of engineering classes at the University of Wisconsin. Thoroughly bored, he dropped out in 1888 and headed for Chicago to find a job. He quickly found one, first apprenticing with the Chicago architect J. Lyman Silsbee, and later and more famously with his "lieber Meister." Louis Sullivan. In 1893, after a falling out with Sullivan over taking outside work, Wright left the ...
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