An Alternative Approach.

More than merely green, Organic Architecture describes a way of thinking about design that transcends the common, everyday buildings around us. It is not a "style" but rather an approach to solving design problems. In Architecture, a "style" is a set of repeating elements (such as Spanish Colonial Style...). A truly Organic Architecture invents a new solution based on the special conditions of each project.

In this way, Organic Architecture follows the design process of Nature - by adapting to each site, climate, and set of materials. Read on to learn more about this design philosophy:

A Brief History of Organic Architecture
  • What is Organic?
  • Nature as the basis
  • Where did the term come from?

While Organic Architecture does describe environmental concerns, it also embodies the human spirit, transcending the mere act of shelter into something which shapes and enhancesour lives.

While Organic Architecture does describe an expression of individuality, it also explores our need to connect to Nature.

Using Nature as our basis for design, a building or design must grow, as Nature grows, from the inside out. Most architects design their buildings as a shell and force their way inside. Nature grows from the idea of a seed and reaches out to its surroundings. A building thus, is akin to an organism and mirrors the beauty and complexity of Nature.

Understanding the systems of Nature, Eric Corey Freed regards each design as an organism and each component as an interrelated extension of that organism. He designs the proper organism for its environment in accord with the relationships of each piece to the whole, and the whole to the surroundings. Through an extensive interviewing process, Eric begins to shape this new creature and provides the biology. The clients are an integral piece of this development as they are the the true designers of their building.

The term "Organic Architecture" was invented by the great architect, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959).

Frank Lloyd Wright used the word "organic" to describe his philosophy of architecture. It was an extension of the teachings of his mentor, Louis Sullivan, whose slogan "form follows function" became the mantra of modern architecture. Wright changed this phrase to "form and function are one," claiming Nature as the ultimate model.

Although the word "organic" is has become a buzzword for something that occurs naturally, when connected to architecture it takes on a new meaning. Organic Architecture is not a style of imitation, but rather, a reinterpretation of Nature's principles to build forms more natural than nature itself.

Just as in Nature, Organic Architecture involves a respect for natural materials (wood should look like wood), blending into the surroundings (a house should be of the hill, not on it), and an honest expression of the function of the building (don't make a bank look like a Greek temple).

The Philosophy of Organic architecture continues today through the work of hundreds of students of Mr. Wright.

"So here I stand before you preaching
organic architecture...
not cherishing any preconceived form
fixing upon us either past, present or future,
but instead exalting the simple laws
of common sense..."

-Frank Lloyd Wright, An Organic Architecture, 1939

More Information and Downloads

An Organic History
$24.99 electronic download
Detailed essay chronicling the birth and history of the Organic Architecture Movement.
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An American Architecture
$19.99 electronic download
Exhibition catalog from 1985 show featuring the work of 14 organic architects.
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The Organic Principles
Free download - (84k PDF)
Overview of our design philosophy and the organic process.

Organic Slideshow
Free - (1.1MB SWF)
Short slideshow presentation of the organic design approach.

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