Tag archives for | Frank Lloyd Wright

Tag archives for: Frank Lloyd Wright

Endangered Historic U.S. Places 2009


Unity Temple, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his own Unitarian congregation in Oak Park, Illinois, remains an icon of early modern architecture, with its geometric design, strong massing, characteristic detailing, and use of exposed concrete.

But despite ongoing maintenance of this National Historic Landmark, the 1909 building has suffered extensive damage from years of water infiltration. Its precarious state prompted the National Trust for Historic Preservation to name Unity Temple one of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places” for 2009.
The annual list highlights architectural, cultural, and natural heritage sites at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. This year’s sites range from a single school building in Georgia to an entire mountain in New Mexico, from a 19th-century factory complex to such modern landmarks as Minoru Yamasaki’s 1966 Century Plaza Hotel.

Neglect, lack of funding, insensitive public policy, and natural forces — often working in combination — have put many of these buildings in jeopardy. Several of the listed sites are threatened with demolition to enable redevelopment.

Wright’s Hometown Masterwork

Reflecting on Unity Temple near the end of his life, Wright said, “That was my first expression of this eternal idea which is at the center and core of all true modern architecture. A sense of space, a new sense of space.”

Full article via Architecture Week

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Breaking All the Rules With New York’s Public-Building Design


Brooklyn, N.Y.
May 13, 2009

Now that the age of irrational exuberance and outrageous excess is apparently over, can we please talk about real architecture again? It has been fun seeing just how far talent can stretch itself before achieving irrelevancy, but there are diminishing returns in watching more become less in an escalating game of real-estate toys for the superrich. It has been less fun to see how easily, and paradoxically, in a time of extreme affluence, the social contract that is an essential part of the art of architecture has been abrogated. Or at least driven under the radar by the kind of showy construction where creativity and cost are terminally confused. You do begin to wonder what happened to the art that could build with genuine grandeur and still serve and elevate ordinary lives. 

The Saratoga Avenue Community Center's exterior with its references to earlier styles.

The Saratoga Avenue Community Center's exterior with its references to earlier styles.

As the hype and the construction stop, there is much soul-searching talk by born-again architects about modesty, sustainability and social and environmental responsibility. But I find it hard to believe that those operating in the stratosphere of pricey self-indulgence in an undimmed celebrity culture really get it, or that they are having even a tiny epiphany. Architecture has always been the enabler of excess, for better or worse, and architects will succumb again to the same seductive pieties about cutting-edge design and a trickle-down theory that simply doesn’t work.  Full article

Cross posted from WSJ

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