Rethinking Frank Lloyd Wright in the 21st Century

23 Responses

  1. William Borgerding says:

    Excellent article. Beautifully written. Erudite but not pretentious. I love it when academics embrace changes in their own views, based on thoughtful research. The best teachers and writers are those that will always consider themselves ” students” at heart. Areticle changed my views on Wright, which previously mirrored the author’s early opinions. I see him now more as “contextual” designer, not chained to a rigid aesthetic based on ego, but willing to adjust to and incorporate the needs of society as a whole, be it in a natural or urban setting. Thank you for this new perspective on an icon of American culture and design.

  2. Kevin Brown says:

    Nice article!
    This bit got me: “Wright felt that if commerce and industry were concentrated in dense urban centers, the single-family home could be given the space it needs.” And what need for space would that be? Surely not the space needed to cultivate the land, which a traditional villa would need space for. Perhaps the space to be an autonomous artistic object? Walking about Oak Park, that was the distinct impression I got. The various houses he and other sympathetic architects designed were all quite gorgeous – photos do not do them justice – but all gorgeous in their own, distinct ways. The lawns and trees were like walls and frames around paintings in a museum. The houses had nothing to do with each other, other than competing for gorgeousness. It was simultaneously thrilling in an aesthetic way and depressing in a social way.

    • John Bachman says:

      Suggest you read the book Wrightscapes to see further research into Wright’s design and placement of the houses he designed in Oak Park. Of course some of these conclusions are based on conjecture, but very interesting.

  3. Vince says:

    Your article explains that Mr. Wright was a supporter of the idea that “form follows function.” In actual fact, he was not. He believed that “form and function are one, bound in a spiritual union,” Thus, he never put function before form, rather I think he may have put form before function in some cases.

    Also, he wasn’t a fan of the centralization of cities. He knew putting commerce and industry closely together would cause congestion and traffic (this is happening in most major cities today like Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong, and London). His Broadacre City was a solution to this. Instead of “densification,” he proposed the opposite: mixing commerce and industry with residential neighborhoods/buildings would be an end to congestion. Instead of the population herding to a central area of the city daily, they would shift in all directions effectively dispersing traffic flow. Take a closer look at his Broadacre City model and note the generous space he alloted each home and each commercial building. Notice there is no “downtown” that your “densification” would have.

  4. Harry Carnes says:

    Thanks for this interesting view of Wright. He was without doubt a character with many contradictions. You may find part of this embodied in his religious life, as a Unitarian, a religious tradition which simultaneously acknowledges the possibility of a God and a humanist view of the world.

  5. Rob Barros says:

    Dear Professor Andrzejewski,

    Nice article. Though I feel you did not account for one very important notion with regard to Mr. Wright’s work.

    While Wright did not shy away from new, site specific solutions; he was also never afraid to dust off an old set of plans, whether previously built, or not, should it be appropriate to the site and the needs of the client du jour.

    Best Regards,
    Rob Barros

  6. John Bachman says:

    Recommend your students read Wrightscapes by the Aguars published in 2002.
    The best book on his site planning and sometimes lack of it. Perhaps your students could examine other Wright buildings not included in this book.

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