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

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Leyla McCalla takes up not only the guitar, but the banjo and cello to perform songs from her new disc, “A Tribute to Langston Hughes,” music that mixes the Creole rhythms of Haiti with the French Quarter flavor of New Orleans on this edition of "The Hamilton Live."