Organic Architecture

Michael Rust

Organic Architecture

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Frank Lloyd Wright

Influenced Concepts

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Residential - Commercial - Interior Architecture

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Organic Architecture

From the master, through the disciples, to the believers – a continuation of organic architecture

Michael Rust is The Organic Architect because of his philosophy that requires architectural design to promote harmony between human habitation and the natural world.

Some call it green architecture. The Frank Lloyd Wright influenced designs created by Michael Rust provides organically designed homes and buildings that have a relationship with the natural surroundings. Everything about the design, whether it’s the windows, floors or furniture, relates to the surrounding environment.

Sustainable Architect

Based in Chandler, Arizona, Michael believes sustainable design architecture must be a work of art – and at the same time – extremely practical. It must serve client needs; be in harmony with its site, climate, and cultural background; and have unique character appropriate to its purpose. Michael Rust Architect delivers quality and takes a long-range approach to design.

The effectiveness of Michael Rust Architect is shown in its management and coordination of its skilled professionals. Michael has expertise in programming and problem solving. Michael also has a track record of designing “signature” projects, both residential and commercial, with each tailored individually to meet client needs for site, budget, schedule, and profitability. Design solutions are suited to specific individual circumstances and Michael personally oversees each project.


Our process


Michael Rust’s Biography, Green Architect Phoenix


Prior to starting his own firm, Michael D. Rust worked for Taliesin Architects, the successor firm to Frank Lloyd Wright, which started in 1893. The Taliesin staff included engineers, certified planners, landscape architects, interior designers and an ADA consultant. Committed to creating visionary buildings based on the organic principles first espoused by Wright, Taliesin Architects completed more than 2,000 projects throughout the United States and abroad. Projects included religious facilities; mixed-use master plans; civic and governmental facilities; community centers; arts, education and healthcare facilities; industrial, corporate, retail and commercial buildings; clubhouses; resorts; hotels; restaurants; and residences.

While enrolled in the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Michael Rust worked on many of the above mentioned building types while serving on architectural teams managed by John Rattenbury and William Wesley Peters, both original apprentices of Mr. Wright. With registrations to practice architecture in Arizona and California, Michael Rust has focused his private practice on designing custom residential and commercial projects for the past 12 years.

Architectural Experience:

Michael Rust Architect LLC was formed in 2001 as a Chandler, Arizona-based architectural design company committed to providing custom design work and delivering Frank Llyod Wright plans that result in amazing Wright inspired residences and commercial building. Michael previously headed RDS (Rust Design Services), which was founded as a division of Nesco Mfg. Inc. Michael provided several custom residential and commercial designs and was actively involved as a project manager for large subcontractor design and installation projects contracted by Nesco Mfg. Inc. RDS was purchased by Taliesin Architects in 1998.

Registered Architect:

Michael Rust is registered as an architect in Arizona, California, and Florida. Since most states do not require a licensed architect within the state to design residential and small commercial structures, Michael, as a green architect can work with clients nationally. If licensing is needed, Michael provides this requirement through his partnering architects.

Michael Rust Education:

Michael Rust’s interest in organic architecture evolved directly from his training. After attending Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, where he studied, architectural design, civil construction and worked as a draftsman for a local modular home company, he was accepted to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in 1982.

Michael worked on more than 300 projects during his nine-year apprenticeship. In 1989, he was the third person to receive an accredited Master’s degree fro the school. One year later he became the youngest person to join The Taliesin Senior Fellowship staff. Mike continued his training as a project architect for Taliesin Associated Architects for another 3 years after receiving his degree. His focus during this time was coordinating the design and overseeing the construction of Frank Lloyd Wright inspired design of a 23,000,000 golf course clubhouse in Maui. Today this building is known as The King Kamehamha Golf Clubhouse.

Today Michael Rust provides custom architectural and interior design services based on the organic principals of architecture he learned from the original apprentices of Frank Lloyd Wright. Michael provides these services to individuals and businesses all across the US.


Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence is left throughout the world, particularly in Arizona. Born in 1867, the Wisconsin native dropped out of high school to study civil engineering. He moved to Chicago in 1887 to work for Joseph Lyman Sisbee and then spent six years working for Louis Sullivan, who became his mentor. In 1893, Wright opened his own firm.

His residential design style emerged. He created homes on a horizontal plan and built with natural materials. Wright’s designs did not include basements, attics or paint, but open rooms that flowed into one another. Between 1915 and 1935, Wright designed commercial projects, such as the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

In 1932, Wright founded an architectural fellowship at Taliesin, his Spring Green, Wisconsin, home. Thirty students arrived and paid to live and work with the master. In 1937, Wright built Taliesin West in what is now Scottsdale, Arizona. He moved to Arizona full-time, but retained his Wisconsin home. He continued to teach and added facilities onto his properties as his students needed. Wright died at Taliesin West in 1959 at the age of 92. Out of his 1,141 designs, 532 projects had been completed.

Prairie Architecture

Frank Lloyd Wright believed that rooms in Victorian era homes were boxed-in and confining. He began to design houses with low horizontal lines and open interior spaces. Rooms were often divided by leaded glass panels. Furniture was either built-in or specially designed. These homes were called prairie style after Wright’s 1901 Ladies Home Journal plan titled, “A Home in a Prairie Town.” Prairie houses were designed to blend in with the flat, prairie landscape.

The first Prairie houses were usually plaster with wood trim or sided with horizontal board and batten. Later Prairie homes used concrete block. Prairie homes can have many shapes: Square, L-shaped, T-shaped, Y-shaped, and even pinwheel-shaped.

Many other architects designed Prairie homes and the style was popularized by pattern books. The popular American Foursquare style, sometimes called the Prairie Box, shared many features with the Prairie style.

Prairie style houses usually have these features:

  • Low-pitched roof
  • Overhanging eaves
  • Horizontal lines
  • Central chimney
  • Open floor plan
  • Clerestory Windows

Usonian Architecture

In 1936, during the USA depression, Frank Lloyd Wright developed a simplified version of Prairie architecture called Usonian. Wright believed these stripped-down houses represented the democratic ideals of the United States.

In 1936, when the United States was in the depths of an economic depression, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright developed a series of homes he called Usonian. Designed to control costs, Wright’s Usonian houses had no attics, no basements, and little ornamentation.
The word Usonia is an abbreviation for United States of North America. Frank Lloyd Wright aspired to create a democratic, distinctly American style that was affordable for the “common people.”‘

Usonian is a term usually referring to a group of approximately sixty middle-income family homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright beginning in 1936 with the Jacobs House. The “Usonian Homes” were typically small, single-story dwellings without a garage or much storage, L-shaped to fit around a garden terrace on odd (and cheap) lots, with native materials, flat roofs and large cantilevered overhangs for passive solar heating and natural cooling, natural lighting with clerestory windows, and radiant-floor heating. A b visual connection between the interior and exterior spaces is an important characteristic of all Usonian homes. The word carport was coined by Wright to describe an overhang for a vehicle to park under.

Usonian architecture grew out of Frank Lloyd Wright’s earlier Prairie-style homes. Both styles featured low roofs and open living areas. Both styles made abundant use of brick, wood, and other natural material. However, Wright’s Usonian homes were small, one-story structures set on concrete slabs with piping for radiant heat beneath. The kitchens were incorporated into the living areas. Open car ports took the place of garages.

In the 1950s, when he was in his ’80s, Frank Lloyd Wright first used the termUsonian Automatic to describe a Usonian style house made of inexpensive concrete blocks. The three-inch-thick modular blocks could be assembled in a variety of ways and secured with steel rods and grout. Frank Lloyd Wright hoped that home buyers would save money by building their own Usonian Automatic houses. But assembling the modular parts proved complicated – most buyers hired pros to construct their Usonian houses.

Variants of the Jacobs House design are still in existence today and do not look overly dated. The Usonian design is considered among the aesthetic origins of the popular “ranch” tract home popular in the American west of the 1950s.



Tom Fisher – Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church of Arizona

“I would like to thank you for your attention to our project, for being able to give so much of your expertise and your advice, for being able to incorporate all our desires in the foot print we requested and more importantly for being an understanding listener and translator of our dreams. I know we started this endeavor as a client and service provider but I am happy to say I have earned a friend as well.” more

Haile, Beth and Dan Getachew

“It was a wonderful sight for us every time you sent updates on our project from the bubble diagrams to the finished blueprints. Your ability and desire to understand our vision was amazing. When we first came to you it was obvious to us that your primary goal was to design the home WE wanted, not what you thought we needed. This attitude is precisely the prescription we were looking for.” more

Roger and Barbara Trinko – Mesa, AZ 85212

Designing and constructing a home or building shouldn’t be a nightmare, but an once-in-a-lifetime experience. That is the way Michael Rust Architects approaches a project. Because building your dream project doesn’t happen every day. This is what clients say about working with Michael: “The bottom line is that our project was finished ahead of schedule and ahead of budget.  We have a building that is not only functional, but beautiful.” more

Don & Beth West

“We want to thank you for picking up the ball when it seemed our builder needed engineering help. You provided the help he seemed to need and stood by us when detail after detail needed to be explained to him. You have been more than responsive to our long-distance problems and have been instrumental in our reaching solutions to his seemingly impossible problems.” more

Jim & Greta Tyler

“My husband Bob and I engaged Mike Rust as our choice in architects after purchasing a view lot of unusual proportions in the town of Dewey, Arizona. We knew it would take someone with creative vision to design our home to fit on the lot and yet take advantage of the panoramic views. I am happy to say that we made a very wise decision in selecting Mike Rust. Mike has been very responsive to our ideas and incorporated them beautify into our new home. We wanted a great room blending the kitchen, dining, and living rooms together to take advantage of the views and yet give each room its own identity, not an easy task I might add. However, I can report enthusiastically that he exceeded our expectations.” more

Lazona C. Linder

“I was very satisfied with the professionalism, quality of work, and careMike displayed throughout our dealings. Having never been through a renovation of this size, Mike took a daunting task and broke it down to more manageable steps. My wife and I were always treated with respect and any questions we had were quickly answered with informed truthfulness. Mike was always available to discuss changes and punctual for all meetings. In short, he was a pleasure to work with on this project.” more

Dan and Marja Casey

In the fall of 2007 we decided to remodel our 1977 ranch style home.  We interviewed 4 contractors and architects before deciding on the very personable and precise Michael D. Rust. In our preliminary discussions, Mike was very upfront about improving the value of the home, the creative possibilities to enhance the living within the home, and the costs associated with every step in the design process. more

Hinshaw Residence – Presott Arizona

We want to thank you for all that you have done to make our new home a wonderful reality.
Working with you during the entire design process was a pleasure. Your enthusiasm for the project, your great patience with us (our wants and our sometimes dumb questions and ideas) and your incredible architectural vision have all made this a very positive experience for us. more

Bram Palm Palm Residence

First, we are delighted with our new home. When we began this project Ashley and I had agreed that we liked Frank Lloyd Wright architecture a great deal. We also knew that our local architects were not designing homes like this.
On the other hand, finding an architect who could design in this style and doing a project like this a few thousand miles away is a scary thought. We are very pleased with the way we were able to work with you to get this done from afar. more

Jerome & Marilyn Bidinger

In 2010, we decided to have a home designed and constructed that would facilitate and, in fact, enhance, our somewhat unique life style. After interviewing several architects, we selected Michael Rust precisely because he has a demonstrable record of practicing organic architecture whereby he develops for each client a structural design that seamlessly integrates the structure’s form and details with the client’s particular requirements and lifestyle activities. more

Jan & Jeannette Hinshaw

We want to thank you for all that you have done to make our new home a wonderful reality. Working with you during the entire design process was a pleasure. Your enthusiasm for the project, your great patience with us (our wants and our sometimes dumb questions and ideas) and your incredible architectural vision have all made this a very positive experience for us. more

Lacey Testimonial

My wife and I contracted with Mike Rust for the design of a custom home in Ohio. Mike visited the building site with us. We discussed the spaces desired and provided him with some pictures of exterior and interior elements we liked from other houses. After that, Mike completed the entire design process from his office in Arizona. Mike developed an initial design based on the room sizes, etc. more

What We Do

Residential Design

Michael Rust uses sustainable design and organic architecture to create timeless residences. He blends the indoor and outdoor environments together to create a dwelling that is at home with its natural surroundings.

Michael specializes in taking the owner’s thoughts and accurately putting them on paper, thus creating the dream home people desire. He works within the land lot’s footprint to make the most of views, elevations and natural beauty. Michael strives to maximize the square footage available to create airy living spaces. Once blueprints are drawn, Michael coordinates with the contractors to ensure the design is carried out accurately.

Commercial Design

Sometimes an office space is an extension of a company’s brand. Michael Rust designs signature commercial buildings that help companies stand out. When a four-walled, tilt-up concrete building won’t do, Michael can create a visionary building, a work of art that is practical and functional. Avoiding fads and current fashion, Michael’s projects are designed for the long term and to increase in value.

Michael tailors each project, paying close attention to site, budget, schedule, and profitability. The firm uses state-of-the-art technology and research. Michael specializes in programming and problem-solving. His involvement doesn’t stop when the design is finalized; he oversees the project until completion.

Interior Design Services

Built-ins are an ingenious solution to accommodate many different functions in a condensed space. Although custom furniture and built-ins cost a little more than furniture, a knowledgeable designer knows how to use the right materials to make a project cost effective without sacrificing creativity.

Kitchens and bathrooms require technical and specialized design and an extensive understanding of codes and construction.

Michael Rust assists with functional space planning and guides the client in selecting appropriate appliances, cabinetry, counter tops, and lighting. With great attention to detail as his forte, Michael Rust makes the overwhelming task of designing a kitchen or bath pleasurable and exciting.

Computer Rendering

Communication is the key to how we share ideas and information with one another.  Architects and interior designers can visualize a space in their mind how it will look when completed.  This skill takes years of training and practice.  Most people unless trained in some sort of design field have a hard time visualizing a building or space without some sort of help.  Thus we produce drawings.  Most of the drawings architects create are 2 dimensional flat drawings that show a design but don’t show clearly depth, scale and quality of the material being use.  A photograph is a 3 dimensional image that we all are familiar with and easily understand.  This is because it shows depth, scale, materials and sometimes even color.  Architect’s then created a 3 dimensional tool called a “perspective” which is a drawing that has the same qualities as a photograph.  These are very time consuming to create and once created not easily changed or modified without redrawing the entire image.

With the age of the computer, computer created drawings and the internet, the process of communication has become 1000% better for the clients and architects as well.  The drawing examples shown are the tool that I use to show my clients the overall feeling and quality of the space will be.  These can be emailed and then discussed on the phone and changes made quickly and efficiently. In some cases we can even share ideas over the phone with you on your computer watching in real time the changes being made on my computer.

Not only do these drawings help the clients in visualizing their design, it actually helps the contractor in understanding the quality of the space he is building.  “A picture is worth a thousand words” still applies today.

I can now design anywhere in the world and it is just like being there but easier and less expensive.

Our Design Process

The Pre-Design Phase

(Looking before you leap)

During this initial phase, specific project information is assembled in order to begin the design process, which includes the following:

–    Developing a program with a suitable list of project objectives.
–    Determining a project budget.
–    Obtaining a site survey, which includes working with an outside consultant.
–    Obtaining septic analysis and design, which includes working with an outside consultant.
–    Investigating all zoning regulations.
–    Analyzing the site’s advantages and its limitations.
–    Measuring and drawing all existing buildings as base drawings in order to determine any renovations and/or additions.
–    Providing bubble diagrams of the spatial concepts related to the site and the owner’s program requirements.

Conceptual of Schematic Design Phase

(Putting thoughts on paper)

This phase of the process involves conceptualizing a preliminary design based upon the client’s ideas and input. Abstract concepts are developed, tested, and redeveloped with the intention of creating information for the subsequent phases of the design process. A preliminary design is presented to the client who may suggest additional modifications. The design is reviewed. Further adjustments and changes are made. During this time, the layout, form, and overall appearance of the building and its site are determined. Sketches, drawings, study models, computer-aided design (CAD), and 3-D architectural designs are prepared to help in evaluating all ideas and concepts. These tools set the final direction for refining the building’s design.

Design Development Phase

(Adding in the details)

This phase parallels the conceptual design phase as a level of detail is critical in determining the construction, maintenance, and eventual disassembly of the building.

Once the size, layout, and character of the project and site are refined, the design of feature elements such as staircases, cabinetry, fireplaces, and built-in furniture begin. Drawings or CAD presentations are created to describe important technical details. Plans, elevations, and sections through the building are developed. Architectural details are combined to formulate shape and enclosure with connecting lines placed between them or materials arranged according to the production information. This strategic placement collectively determines the specific shape and characteristics of the building.

Construction Documentation Phase

(Finalizing the design)

Construction documents are the comprehensive drawings that provide sequential data pertaining to each step of the overall construction process. These drawings provide relevant information about the construction process to the design team (the builders, contractors, etc.). The design drawings are scrutinized and presented to the client for input. Additional suggestions and/or adjustments are incorporated before the design is finalized. The final design is then communicated to all involved in the construction and development of the building. Once accepted, the design is then implemented and construction begins.

Bidding and Negotiation Phase

(Arriving at a contract for construction)

If the project is to be bid, competitive bids are solicited from a number of contractors after the construction documents are finished. The client has the option of accepting one of the bids as given, rejecting all bids or negotiating a modified bid with one of the bidders. Clients are not obligated to accept any of the bids. The client may choose to select a single builder and negotiate an agreement with him directly.

Construction Observation/Contract Administration Phase

(Executing the plan)

Throughout the course of construction Michael Rust and the client visits the site to oversee the progress of construction and to observe whether or not the contractor’s execution of the design follows the intentions. This phase includes answering any questions, communicating with the client and the contractor, and negotiating between all three to make minor changes and/or adjustments in order to complete the project.  Michael Rust will review requests for payment by the contractor while overseeing the progress of building construction.

Where to Find us

Our business is based out of Chandler, AZ. Michael can travel virtually anywhere to service your design and implementation needs.

Office in Chandler AZ

  • 480-219-0554
  • 1321 W McNair St. Chandler, AZ 85224

Right Plans Collection

Thinking about building a home and want some ideas?

Michael Rust has created a book called the Right Plans Collection that features 40 of his best Frank Lloyd Wright floor plans. Floor plans range from 1,600 square feet to 7,000 square feet. This book has 8.5 x 11 colored renderings and floor plans and sells for only $79.95!

Michael is available to make modifications to his existing plans and to provide blueprints on all his designs.

For more information on available floor plans and other questions you might have, please call me direct 480-219-0554.