So beautiful that everything else could be forgiven: Fallingwater, Pennsylvania. Photo: BBC/ World of Wonder
He use paroles of propaganda with infinite flexible. He championed organic architecture, by which he intended builds that germinate naturally from their its utilization and terrain, to describe cultivates of high-pitched contrivance and clumsy functionality. He talked often of the democratic sort of his intends and sentiments, then presented a teach in Moscow is recommended that the Soviet Union be an ideal place to realise them. He railed against grandomania, the excess passion of other inventors, and then presented someone like himself as perhaps the only one who can show us the real mode. No meditate that he was the representation for the risible Howard Roark, hero of Ayn Rands celebration of individualism, The Fountainhead.
He found in Olgivanna a power maniac with eccentric metaphysical idea, a perfect accomplice.
Travels With Frank Lloyd Wright: The First Global Architect( Lund Humphries 30 ), a whimsical new book by Gwyn Lloyd Jones, recalls that Olgivanna insisted that Wrights chief apprentice, William Wesley Peters, wed Svetlana, daughter of Joseph Stalin, on the basis that Peters has hitherto been married to Olgivannas daughter, likewise called Svetlana, who died in a automobile crash. Olgivanna thought that the minds of the one had migrated into the other. The second Svetlana would come to the conclusion that the set-up in the Wright compound was a bit too much like Daddys world back home that she speculated “shes had” escaped.
In all these respects, Wright is uncannily like two other self-mythologising, tyrant-chasing, client-exploiting giants of the 20 th century, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, right down to changing their identifies given at birth in Wrights case, his middle name had been Lincoln. Between them they created a trinity of just livable yet iconic residences Corbs
Villa Savoye, Miess Farnsworth House and Wrights Fallingwater and with each the deal was the same. Their greatest occupations were so stupendous, so world-changing, so beautiful that everything else could be forgiven.
So, almost, they are. But too often in Wrights constructs I have detected a specific agitation, which is that his obsessive, crabby, reigning identity wont leave you alone. I have felt it in a comparatively obscure cultivate, the campus of
Florida Southern College, where colonnades of questionable usefulness march on seemingly for miles, along with insistent geometric gild that never seems to stop. I have felt it in the Robie House, a masterpiece of his early years in Chicago and an example of what is called the Prairie style. Its long horizontals are supposed to evoke the freedoms of the wide-open spaces of the New world, but every detail and every move is so minutely predetermined that you, the human tenant of the cavity, feel redundant. The Guggenheim ramp, majestic though it is, merely offers one road to take.
Wrights campus at Florida Southern College, whose colonnades of questionable usefulness march on apparently for miles. Photograph: Alamy
The most pleasant of Wrights drives are from his extremely late, kitschy, you might pronounce senile date, such as the
Marin County Civic Center near San Francisco. This is a fusion of a UFO and a Roman aqueduct rendered in baby blue, pink and amber, whose sheer silliness, be included with undiminished bravura and invention in targeting it in the landscape, allays the asphyxiation of his more hero-worship achievements.
Wright resembled a religion leader, charismatic, fraudulent and commanding, and allured plenty of acolytes willing to relinquish themselves for him. He pushed to the limits the notion of the impossible genius that, incidentally, opens afterwards architects a pass on pushing themselves if genius is impossible, why try? Or else it grants licence to lesser abilities to act like imbeciles. Even his greatest occupations Fallingwater and the Guggenheim were seriously flawed. But, then again, “the worlds” would be a poorer target without them.
Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive is at MoMA, New York, 12 June to 1 October