The Prairie School houses (characterized by open plans, horizontal lines, and indigenous materials) were related to the American Arts and Crafts movement (hand craftsmanship, simplicity, function), an alternative to the then-dominant Classical Revival Style (Greek forms with occasional Roman influences). Some firms, like Purcell & Elmslie, however, consciously rejected the term "Arts and Crafts" for their work, which accepted the honest presence of machine worked surfaces. The Prairie School was also heavily influenced by the Idealistic Romantics (better homes would create better people) and the Transcendentalist philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson. In turn, the Prairie School architects influenced subsequent architectural idioms, particularly the Minimalists (less is more) and Bauhaus (form follows function), which was a mixture of De Stijl (grid-based design) and Constructivism (which emphasized the structure itself and the building materials).
Architectural historians have debated the reasons why the Prairie School went out of favor by the mid-1920s. Perhaps a serious consideration of one of its own members would be worth their serious attention. In her autobiography, Marion Mahony Griffin writes:
- "The enthusiastic and able young men as proved in their later work were doubtless as influential in the office later as were these early ones but Wright's early concentration on publicity and his claims that everybody was his disciple had a deadening influence on the Chicago group and only after a quarter of a century do we find creative architecture conspicuously evident in the United States."
Famous quotes containing the words prairie and/or school:
“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,”
—Emily Dickinson (18301886)
“Green, green is El Aghir. It has a railway station,
And the wealth of its soil has borne many another fruit:
A mairie, a school and an elegant Salle de Fetes.
Such blessings, as I remarked, in effect, to the waiter,
Are added unto them that have plenty of water.”
—Norman Cameron (b. 1905)