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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."