Wright and "Awards"

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Matt
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:24 am

Wright and "Awards"

Post by Matt »

I've been researching the 1950's recently and there were a lot of awards and competitions at the time for architecture. These were put on by magazines and AIA and building product manufacturers. I never see Wright's name crop up in these awards. I suspect he saw himself as well above this sort of thing?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

"Later in his life and well after his death in 1959, Wright received much honorary recognition for his lifetime achievements. He received a Gold Medal
award from The Royal Institute of British Architects in 1941. The American Institute of Architects awarded him the AIA Gold Medal in 1949. "

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Lloyd_Wright

In addition, Wright garnered four posthumous AIA "Twenty-five Year Awards," being surpassed in that number only by Louis Kahn, who received five.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-five_Year_Award

SDR

Matt
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:24 am

Post by Matt »

Yes, there were plenty of lifetime honors, but I'm talking more about individual project competitions. There were a lot of such competitions in the pos-war boom years. I am assuming that Wright was so busy he didn't need the recognition or publicity from such competitions. I also assume that there was a dose of ego involved...in that he felt he was well above such things.

But...you'd think that as magazines or local AIA are handing out awards for "best house" or "best clinic" that some of those magazines would have given the award to a Usonian. I can't recall any instances of this happening.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Wright:

"The world has gained no building worth having by competition because: (1) The jury itself is necessarily a hand-picked average. Some constituency must
agree upon the jury. (2) Therefore the first thing this average does as a jury, when picked, is to go through all the designs and throw out the best ones and
the worst ones. This is necessary in order that the average may average upon something average. (3) Therefore any architectural competition will be an
average upon an average by averages in behalf of the average. (4) The net result is a building well behind the times before it is begun."

https://www.pbs.org/flw/buildings/unity ... wings.html

SDR

Matt
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:24 am

Post by Matt »

Interesting, but I think this is referring to the practice of having a committee evaluate various proposals for a major commission.

I'm more interested in honors that completed projects may have received. Did any Usonian house ever win such awards?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Mr Wright was referring there directly to the architectural competition, not to other sorts of commissions. Read it again.

"Yes, there were plenty of lifetime honors, but I'm talking more about individual project competitions."

"I'm more interested in honors that completed projects may have received."

Make up your mind ?

:D SDR

Matt
Posts: 430
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:24 am

Post by Matt »

Sorry if the word "competition" is a bit ambiguous. It can refer to a group of architects submitting proposals for a major project (ie the famous Tribune competition). But it can also refer to (Insert name of Magaziner here)'s "Best house of the year" competition. Or for that matter the many "home of the month" programs run by various newspapers.

Is that any clearer?

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Sure. Wish I could help. Best of luck with your quest !

SDR

Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

Wright got several de facto greatest-in-the-universe awards from Luce over the years: Fallingwater on the cover of Time, a Life Dream House (which became Schwartz), big publicity in Life for the opening of Johnson Wax, a special issue of Architectural Record, a Life article on the Fellowship at TWest as late as 1967.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

FLW got a lot of good press throughout his career, because he was "the elephant in the room," but his work was also often attacked, as early as Larkin. The "traditional vs. modern" article in the 1938 issue of Life is as close to vying actively for attention as FLW ever got after his one very early foray into competition for the library in Madison.

Those Best Houses of the Year magazine articles more often than not showcased architects who were less well-known. It was a serviceable means of gaining attention. Architectural Record has had a May issue of houses for many years, and FLW never made the list, as far as I can recall.

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