Showing posts with label Frank Lloyd Wright. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frank Lloyd Wright. Show all posts

Saturday, 30 April 2011


  The nice thing about the word "iconic" in relation to buildings is that it lends itself much easier to styles than to the individual constructions themselves. Which is why it is quite the delight to be able to talk about the ones that endure in the increasingly blipvert-based times of our lives and the ineluctable erasure time brings to taste, memory and the prevailing view

   So, do take a moment to be charmed by Frank Lloyd Wright's famous 1935 form, Kaufmann Residence. Or as it is more famously known, Fallingwater. Not many buildings can maintain such a resonant appeal, but its lessons of simplicity scale, space and congruence with its surroundings - Man + Nature + Insight = Sui Generis Architecture - persist to this day (fun, though possibly apocryphal, fact, as related by draftsman Edgar Tafel: after weeks without the emergence of any plans or drawings from his studio workshop, Wright, with his draftsmen, Tafel and Robert Mosher, eventually, and in a bout of focused genius, created the home's plot plan within the two hours it took Edgar J. "E.J." Kaufmann, Sr. to arrive for a long-desired , albeit impromptu, discussion of the construction at Bear Run). Any look at a Taschen Architecture Now! volume will affirm that

Now, what makes this feat all the more astonishing is that Fallingwater stands, or appears to stand, not upon the solid earth of some Middlewestern prairie but upon air. Cantilevered out over Bear Run by means of almost invisible concrete supports - Wright called them "bolsters" - the house and its series of terraces seem to float in saucy defiance of gravity above the waterfall. To the south, facing the view, its walls consist almost entirely of glass; to the north, its walls are of rough sandstone, hewn from a nearby abandoned quarry. Wright said of the house, "I think you can hear the waterfall when you look at the design. At least it is there, and he [Kaufmann] lives intimately with the thing he loves." Looking over the elevations and plans with Wright, Kaufmann proved the old man's equal in coolness.
With characteristic aplomb, Wright made no effort to disguise the peculiar fact that the house as he designed it was the one place from which it would be impossible to gain a glimpse of the waterfall. On the contrary, he emphasised the peculiarity, saying, "E.J., I want you to live with the waterfall, not just to look at it"
 -- Brendan Gill, Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1987

   One other nice thing about Wright: he did not let only his work speak for him. Here, he talks about his perceptions of... well, pretty much everything. I am not in favour of every sentiment expressed, but an affirming screed that regards creativity, knowledge and Nature as our reasons for being? Hell yes: