News / Arts & Entertainment

Living in a Work of Art Isn’t Wright for Everyone

The Rosenbaum House in Alabama hugs the ground and, in typical Wright fashion, blends comfortably with its natural surroundings. (Carol M. Highsmith)
The Rosenbaum House in Alabama hugs the ground and, in typical Wright fashion, blends comfortably with its natural surroundings. (Carol M. Highsmith)
Ted Landphair
If you ask Americans to name a famous architect, chances are they’ll think first of Frank Lloyd Wright. 

His modernist, minimalist buildings, designed to blend with nature, revolutionized architectural thinking in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Wright was born on a Wisconsin farm in 1867, two years after the end of the U.S. Civil War. He lived to see the Soviet Union send a satellite into space. 

Even before he was born, his schoolteacher-mother decided that Frankie, as she called him, would be an architect.
Landphair for 10-22 Only in Am-Not Wright for Everyone
Landphair for 10-22 Only in Am-Not Wright for Everyonei
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X


Bright and curious, the lad obliged by arranging blocks and paper in the shapes of simple buildings and furniture. 

Wright apprenticed in Chicago under the designers of the world’s first true skyscrapers. 
You might use words like “efficient” and “functional” to describe the Rosenbaum House’s living quarters. “Comfy” and “snug,” not so much. (Carol M. Highsmith)You might use words like “efficient” and “functional” to describe the Rosenbaum House’s living quarters. “Comfy” and “snug,” not so much. (Carol M. Highsmith)
x
You might use words like “efficient” and “functional” to describe the Rosenbaum House’s living quarters. “Comfy” and “snug,” not so much. (Carol M. Highsmith)
You might use words like “efficient” and “functional” to describe the Rosenbaum House’s living quarters. “Comfy” and “snug,” not so much. (Carol M. Highsmith)

Eventually he inherited his family’s Wisconsin farm, where he built one of the world’s most famous houses - Taliesin.  Wright called it “the supreme natural house” that blended so well into the surroundings that it was hard to tell where floor left off and the ground began.

Using what he called his “Usonian style” - the name comes from the abbreviation for the United States: “U.S.” - the architect designed low, flat homes for his clients that many likened to works of modern art. 

Avoiding classical columns and scrolls and other flourishes, Wright opted for long rooms with lots of severe angles, and built-in shelves that ran the length of his one-story houses. 

They were not what you would call “warm and cozy.”

Frank Lloyd Wright in 1955 at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Courtesy Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, John Engstead)Frank Lloyd Wright in 1955 at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Courtesy Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, John Engstead)
x
Frank Lloyd Wright in 1955 at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Courtesy Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, John Engstead)
Frank Lloyd Wright in 1955 at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Courtesy Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, John Engstead)
Especially not warm, since Wright was a creative architect but a terrible engineer.

Clients loved to show off their homes but found the austere wooden furniture - sometimes secured in place and difficult to move - as uncomfortable as park benches. 

Floor-to-ceiling windows let in drafts. And worst of all, most of the roofs leaked.

Some of Wright’s customers put up with it all as a sacrifice for the sake of art and design. 

Mildred Rosenbaum in Florence, Alabama, whose low-slung Frank Lloyd Wright house stood out starkly on a street full of typical white-columned mansions in that Deep South city, admitted that her family sometimes grew tired of living in an architectural laboratory in which so many tables and chairs and beds were bolted down. 

She said she worried that her kids might get up in the middle of the night sometime and unscrew the place.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Trumpeter, percussionist and bandleader Etienne Charles was born in Trinidad and blends island rhythms with modern jazz. He and his stellar band perform a rich gumbo of jazz, calypso, reggae, and rock-steady that Charles calls “Creole Soul” on "The Hamilton Live."