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Could not find a dedicated thread on Midway.
https://library.artstor.org/#/search/ar ... e=1;sort=1
The recent talk over Wright's sculptures led me to look further into things. So I went to chapter 6 in Alofsin's The Lost Years. The chapter is titled: "A Lesson in Figural Sculpture: Conventionalizing the Flesh". Midway had an entire and elaborate sculptural program. The figures cannot be dismissed as incidental to the building. According to Alofsin Wright was integrating the figures into the work with some degree of theoretical underpinning that has to do with a desire to integrate the human figure into geometry: "conventionalizing the flesh" (Wright's own words). Why he wanted to do that is one of my questions? There are at least 17 drawings in the Avery File of the sculptures.
But first some preliminaries. Two stories that Alofsin tells in the chapter are interesting and one I have a question about. First, another amazing fast drawing story. According to son John, Wright appears in the office sits down at the desk and in one hour draws plans, sections, and elevations of the entire complex.
Second, and this is corroborated in son John's book on his father - evidently there was an "architect's box", as John calls it. Alofsin:
".... At Midway Gardens, Wright privately acknowledged this exalted role of the architect by providing an outside viewing box. Perhaps it was just another place to sit for visitors, but for Wright it was the place from which the architect - master of form and poet-priest of a new society- could view the events transpiring in the summer garden. "
Anybody know where the "architect's box" was located?
So looked for a way to contact him online but I guess he no longer teaches at Urbana Champaign - he was not listed in the faculty.
Anybody have contact info on him?
Thanks for your note. The "Architect's Box" was located on the right side of the interior garden facing the bandshell, on the second level of the covered walkway. It was just to the left of the tall pylon. Wright seemed to suggest this one area, although there is an identical mirror image of it on the left side facing the bandshell. I have attached three photos to show you: one of the whole garden, where it is on the far right, center; a second where you see it diagonally from the balcony of the private club, again on the far right side; and the third looking up at it from the stage. It is the projection below/next to the pylon, defined by the concrete tiles with the diagonal pattern.
https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/sea ... tion=click
Now for the plan of this space (or mirrored pair of spaces ?) . . .
https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 1852271297
https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 1852371161
https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 1852680388
https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 1852412930
https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 1852470842
The name "Shangri-La" comes to mind . . .
https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 1852543907
https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 1852626480
https://library.artstor.org/#/search/Wr ... e=2;sort=0
. . .so I don't know how long it might be before someone locates a plan of the architect's box. Happy hunting . . .?
"Not only can the figure of the Winged Sprite be seen as the representation of architecture but also as the symbol of the architect, the bringer of geometry. And Midway, as Wright described it, became a place of the architect's mastery: "Here in Midway Gardens painting and sculpture were to be bidden again to their original offices in architecture, where they belonged. The architect, himself, was here again master of them altogether, making no secret of it whatsoever" This symbolic purpose. recalled the role of the American architect as creator and poet for his country. At Midway Gardens, Wright privately acknowledged this exalted role of the architect by providing a special outside viewing box. Perhaps it was just another place to sit for visitors, but for Wright it was the place from which the architect - the master of form and poet-priest of a new society - could view the events transpiring in the summer garden."
"Commenting on a visit to the Gardens with his father, John Lloyd Wright wrote: Later Dad and I sat alone in the Architect's Box, a finial at the corner - a needle of light ran up the sky. This romantic building, like the expression he bore, was the mask of a great inner love" (JLW, My Father, 72-73)