Even today, Frank Lloyd Wright stirs debate among designers

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therman7g
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Even today, Frank Lloyd Wright stirs debate among designers

Post by therman7g »

Savory:

SDR
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Post by SDR »

NOT QUITE USONIAN



The last gallery examines Wright
Last edited by SDR on Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JimM
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Re: Even today, Frank Lloyd Wright stirs debate among design

Post by JimM »

therman7g wrote:Savory:

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Do you remember that moronic television special, "Kings of Infinite Space: the Work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Michael Graves"? That's what some of the comments remind me of. Graves claimed he grew up in a virtual Usonia, Indianapolis! If Graves didn't see the difference between Usonia and Indianapolis, he should have kept quiet. I can't think of the person who produced and narrated the show; I think I've blocked it out. But I think the problem with at least the two younger architects here is that FLW is not taught in most schools, so one must find out about most of it on one's own. I would cut them a bit of slack.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

My impression has always been that the dining chairs of the 30's-40's were appropriate to those houses, and that Wright considered plywood as one of the new materials of the age; the disappointment is in hearing that a poorly-crafted example, original or otherwise, was put on display. When I learn that he struggled with his materials -- whether in assuming that plywood would be easily bent into a drum shape, as at the Jester house, or that it was appropriate to ask his early apprentices to put large nails into green oak lumber in the eaves of the Hillside School reconstruction, I regret that he took the practical problems of building so lightly.



SDR

JimM
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Post by JimM »

SDR wrote:My impression has always been that the dining chairs of the 30's-40's were appropriate to those houses, and that Wright considered plywood as one of the new materials of the age;


Those are really good points, and true. I still have to believe that (cost aside) Wright would have preferred furniture to have been crafted out of the better species often found in most Usonians. Quality and comfort would have followed, as in the higher end Usonians. Many modest Usonians have beautiful wood interiors and some have a mix of veneers and plywoods. Wright was not thrilled with pine at Jacobs 1, but it was appropriate and economic.



When well made (as intended), the plywood furniture was a perfect match for most utilitarian usonians, and brilliant. Wright always adapted the latest technologies where he could use them; a critical factor in the success of his art taking form from his visions. His curiosity, and the constant experimenting and searching sets him apart, not to mention a few buildings built here and there.



Regardless, quality furniture would have been too costly an indulgence in most cases. The veneers and plain plywoods were a perfect compromise.

pharding
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Frank Lloyd Wright, the Original Green Architect

Post by pharding »

Undoubtedly Broadacre City was lobotomized by lesser luminaires. One could argue that it contributed in some small wall to the rationalization of suburban sprawl. However if you look at recurring strategies you can see that he carefully sited the Prairie Houses to take advantage of the solar orientation and to maximize the perception of a spacious setting even when he was dealing with limited real estate. In the Prairie Houses FLW was cognizant of solar orientation and chose to skillfully site the house even on tight urban lots. Many of these houses are oriented so that the kitchen and breakfast areas are oriented to the east to take advantage of the morning sunlight. In many cases the house is pushed to the far north side of the site with major rooms opening to the south and facing west to the street. This maximized solar gain and created a brighter, naturally illuminated interior. Since I am intimately familiar with the Davenport House I can fully appreciate the major impact of these simple moves on a modest 2,050 square foot house on a 50' wide suburban lot.
Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

JimM
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Re: Frank Lloyd Wright, the Original Green Architect

Post by JimM »

pharding wrote: I can fully appreciate the major impact these simple moves on a modest 2,050 square foot house on a 50' wide suburban lot.


These are aspects of Wright's genius that amaze me. Not only to treat every house as a work of art in the manner he did, but to also place importance on its direct relationship to the environment. Such considerations were almost unheard of in his time, or even today for that matter. He was well ahead of the power curve from very early on.



I've never really taken Broadacre too seriously, other than for its advanced realization that planning should be very important. As Twombly said, it is probably true that only Wright could have lived in a world of his own design. Few artists gain and keep such control over there art-especially difficult with architecture. That is a debt we owe those who commissioned these houses.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The difference between Broadacre and Suburbia is the definition of the difference between decentralization and sprawl. Neither has anything to do with population density, but rather with land use. Broadacre mixed all uses of land in the city, including agriculture, while sprawl consists of pods of commercial, residential, industrial, etc., linked by transportational systems that breed pollution and road rage. Here in the Los Angeles area, which has never been decentralized but always sprawled, we have such inanities as cities devoted almost exclusively to industrial plants which generate thousands of commuters daily, driving from the distance northern edges of the Valley, past downtown to City of Commerce and City of Industry, and back again to be stored in such far-flung bedroom communities as Valencia and Oxnard, like so much cord wood. It's an insane way to live your life, on freeways, trains and subways. Manhattan, which is densely populated during the day with about 18 million workers, and sparsely populated at night with fewer than 3 million rich and dirt-poor residents, could be decentralized if a greater mix of land use were effected. Although it's a bit late for that to happen, at least if Trump has anything to say about it. But Wright's approach to city planning was as valid as Ebenezer Howard's, another great city planner with a pipe dream.

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