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I'm not an architect, so I don't have a dog in this fight. I don't know if there is a professional predisposition to these issues. I'm just an attorney with a love for Wright's art. I think the ultimate question comes down to this: should all unbuilt designs remain that way? Is the world of Wright aficionados divided into two distinct camps? If so, I am clearly in the "OK to build" camp because I seldom tell people what to do with their own money.
I look forward to a vigorous debate about that simple question. Never build, or OK to build?
I certainly can agree with that. As a tourist, I always like to know what is original and what is a reproduction or reconstruction, whether it is a fort, a cannon, or a car. This applies as well to the excellent renovations performed on spectacular properties such as Meyer May or Darwin Martin.Roderick Grant wrote:What is worth criticism is any posthumous work that is passed off as FLW without qualification. Yahara, whatever the tour guide spiel may be, will be thought of as a FLW design rather than a riff. So too, disastrously, Monona. It is incumbent upon docents of these buildings to state emphatically what these buildings are. Even exact replicas of FLW designs (I've always liked the Montooth version of Sundt!) built post-1959 should be qualified.
Monona Terrace is a prime example.
None do more damage than enthusiasts lacking the requisite ability. Many are called, but few are chosen.
- The originals are still there;
- The lesser versions don't stop anybody from seeking out the real thing;
- They might even encourage people - a few at least - to find and appreciate the originals.
Even if Monona or the Yahara boathouse actively misrepresent themselves as Wright buildings, nobody who loves architecture will stay deceived for long. We have no fewer authentic works because of them.
Of the contributors to Wright Chat, it is to their eternal credit that architects DRN, Paul Harding, and 'outside in', insist that their efforts are directed towards the restoration of works designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
My direct observation of the work of the first two, and 'dtc', has left me in no doubt of their stewardship, integrity and humility.
Unfortunately, my knowledge of the work of 'outside in' and 'peterm' has been gathered solely from the images they have posted on this forum, but their spirit of inquiry and determination to restore the works under their stewardship is equally admirable.
How different from those who choose to batten on, and fatten on, the work of a man who passed 52 years ago. To compound matters, when offered the opportunity to produce a thoroâ€™ly debased version of a masterâ€™s work they obviously have no qualms. Rather, they would appear to seize it with alacrity. This despite the fact that as a consequence of changes to the code, and budget restrictions, the buildings, if constructed, would bear only superficial resemblance to Frank Lloyd Wrightâ€™s intentions. Debased, because amongst other reasons, he had an exquisite sense of scale, which is a gift, and not possessed by many.
I would suggest that to be aware of this fact, and still accept the commission, represents a betrayal of trust, especially if one is trading on having been a Taliesin apprentice. No real architect wishes to bask in the reflected glory of his mentor.
We are all aware of the disasters that have occurred as a consequence of selecting a ground plan designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, attempting to fit it to elevations decreed by modern codes, and then employing materials at odds with the original intentions. The Pfeiffer house and Monona Terrace come immediately to mind.
The excuse that if a particular architect did not accept the commission, another would, has no currency. If they really love Architecture they would not behave in that manner.
I suggest that those who are persuaded by the concept of an Organic Architecture find their own forms, and not debase those of the greatest architect since Francesco Borromini. If Frank Lloyd Wright was alive today, he would find ways to conform to the idiocy of some aspects of modern codes, whilst still maintaining his sense of scale. In his absence, it is our task.
Perhaps that's a worthy project this board could work on collectively and "publish" online by the conservancy.
RE: Laurie's comment above and to state the obvious:
How can we feel that Wright's Organic Architecture most elemental tenets are universal and, at the same time, not recognize that the expression of those tenets can differ from his vocabulary? Considering his ideas as label tags diminishes their power and timelessness.
Wright used materials with their natural integrity- any material has a natural integrity.
Wright opened the interior to the exterior landscape.
Ornamentation should be integral not decoration.
The volume of space is the building.
Of the land not on the land.
Even the specific understanding that the 20th C house served both a community (public) and private function requiring two spacial zones.
Architects can speak the language of Organic Architecture in 21st C vocabulary and their own dialect.