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Frank Lloyd Wright ? Walter Gropius (!) ? Any other choices ? How about Victor Lundy meets Madame Woo ?
Fay Jones. Aaron Green. Robert Green. Cliff Hickman (somebody do a book report, please). B Goff and B Prince have seemed a little too far out for me -- but thank heaven there are "all flavors" ! And find the elusive Jack Hillmer -- it's worth the search, I promise.
We wonder if the revived PreFab movement holds the key for the next Frank Lloyd Wright to shine. It's an interesting opportunity in that it holds the potential to keep costs down and allow for more customizable housing solutions. Yet, what the current PreFab designers are doing is basically keeping their ideas "in the box." Even the Marmol Radziner prefab is really just a glorified series of boxes placed on the earth--not of it. The Frank Lloyd Wright of today would seize the chance to lead this PreFab movement into the folds of Organic Architecture--instead of treating it as "machines for living--made on assembly lines like machines."
We would love to hear your thoughts on this in the further search for the next Frank Lloyd Wright.
I first became aware of the firm when the FLWBC had the Palm Springs Pre-LA Conference Tour in 05. They were the restoration architects and contractor for the restoration of Neutra's Kaufman House in Palm Springs. They were the inspiration for Harding Partners becoming the general contractor, in addition to Restoration Architect, on the Davenport House.
Will the next Frank Lloyd Wright have a background in Pre-Fab architecture? In my opinion, no. Frank Lloyd Wright created a sea change in architecture. I do not see that happening again in my lifetime. The measure of the next Frank Lloyd Wright isn't whether one uses FLW's ideas, but whether one has the lasting impact that he did. Lasting impact isn't always recognizable at the time an individual building is initially built. It is also about innovation, but not innovation for the sake of innovation and uniqueness.
It seems to me that the boxiness mentioned in most, if not all, of the efforts out there right now may be just the nature of the beast. That is building the maximum volume the shipping envelope allows. However, in the right hands, this method might still be capable of giving us organic architecture. After all what is Jacobs I but a series of artfully composed, interlocking boxes? Some site work required. Well that's always going to be there.
Perhaps a panelized system holds more promise. Let's start out with a treated wood foundation to eliminate or minimize on site concrete work. Panelize the floor, wall and roof elements in similar fashion. Tailor the design for shipment of all components in the largest sizes possible. Build kitchen and bathroom in the factory and plug them into the structure at the site. I see no reason that this type of building need be boxy. Also, it would be more amenable to organic integration into a site that is more than just a flat lot. However, it is apparent that this method requires more on site labor. Because of this economy of scale can only be acheived through the erection of multiple buildings at the same time; an assembly line in the field as it were.
I don't think any of these ideas are really new. To my knowledge mass panelization goes back to at least World War II. Of course, Wright's original Usonian system was intended for factory fabrication, right?
As always scale of production is the key to true economy. Unfortunately, the mass builders will have no interest in good design as long as they can keep selling their current overblown inefficient product. Any big time investors out there who want to bankroll a test development of say 100 or 200 houses complete with a national ad campaign and media blitz? I think that's pretty much what it will take.
If you build it, will they come???
We're wildly interested in finding those individuals (or hopefully groups) of people out there who are picking up the torch of Organic Architecture and making it new, exciting and pertinent for the 21st century
I think Kelly Davis, a designer for SALA Architects in Minnesota, is a successful practitioner of Organic Architecture in the 21st century.
Some of his design work is featured on the SALA website:
I find the modular system employed by Wright, the "warp & woof" that holds it all together more satisfying.
Wasn't the Joe Price house by Goff? Didn't it burn down?