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The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright

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Overview

Neil Levine's study of the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, beginning with his work in Oak Park in the late 1880s and culminating in the construction of the Guggenheim museum in New York and the Marin County Civic Center in the 1950s, if the first comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the architect's entire career since the opening of the Wright Archives over a decade ago. The most celebrated and prolific of modern architects, Wright built more than four hundred buildings and designed at least twice as many more. The characteristic features of his work—the open plan, dynamic space, fragmented volumes, natural materials, and integral structure—established the basic way that we think about modern architecture. For a general audience, this engaging book provides an introduction to Wright's remarkable accomplishments, as seen against the background of his eventful and often tragic life. For the architect or the architectural historian, it will be an important source of new insights into the development of Wright's whole body of work. It integrates biographical and historical material in a chronologically ordered framework that makes sense of his enormously varied career, and it provides over four hundred illustrations running parallel to the text.

Levine conveys the meanings of the continuities and changes that he sees I Wright's architecture and thought by focusing successive chapters on his most significant buildings, such as the Winslow House, Taliesin, Hollyhock House, Fallingwater, Tailsen west, and the Guggenheim Museum. A new understanding of the representational imagery and narrative structure of Wright's work, along with a much-needed reconsideration of its historical and contextual underpinnings, gives this study a unique place in the writings on Wright. In contrast to the emphasis a previous generation of critics and historians placed on Wright's earlier buildings, this book offers a broader perspective that sees Wright's later work as the culmination of his earlier efforts and the basis for a new understanding of the centrality of his career to the evolution of modern architecture as a whole.

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Editorial Reviews

Toronto Globe & Mail
He [Wright] created beauty, a serene beauty of space—new, undemocratic and unapologetic—a beauty springing from the deepest resonance of man and nature. The strength of Levine's book is that he explains exactly how and why he did it, with a wealth of illustration.
— Joe Berridge
Toronto Globe & Mail - Joe Berridge
He [Wright] created beauty, a serene beauty of space—new, undemocratic and unapologetic—a beauty springing from the deepest resonance of man and nature. The strength of Levine's book is that he explains exactly how and why he did it, with a wealth of illustration.
The Times Literary Supplement - Andrew Ballantyne
Wright's personal history was extraordinary by any standards, and it is the great strength of Neil Levine's book that he manages to correlate the developments in Wright's architecture with the events in his life, without being sentimental or over-reverent.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 1997 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Architecture and Urban Planning, Association of American Publishers

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1996

"Scrupulously researched, elegantly written (with a refreshing lack of jargon), beautifully illustrated and designed . . . the book is a feast for eye and mind, challenging assumptions and deepening understanding on almost every page. . . . Wright's ability to translate the poetic essence of a place into form was unrivaled, and no one has explored it with more insight than Levine."The Architects' Journal

"A major publication, a benchmark study not only of Wright's career but of architectural history as well. . . . A magnum opus by one of the most highly regarded architectural historians of our day."Choice

"He [Wright] created beauty, a serene beauty of space—new, undemocratic and unapologetic—a beauty springing from the deepest resonance of man and nature. The strength of Levine's book is that he explains exactly how and why he did it, with a wealth of illustration."—Joe Berridge, Toronto Globe & Mail

"A monumental project. . . This book, rather than any extant Wright biography, is the source for those who want to know about the immensity and worth of the accomplishments of Frank Lloyd Wright."Library Journal

"Wright's personal history was extraordinary by any standards, and it is the great strength of Neil Levine's book that he manages to correlate the developments in Wright's architecture with the events in his life, without being sentimental or over-reverent."—Andrew Ballantyne, The Times Literary Supplement

Choice
A major publication, a benchmark study not only of Wright's career but of architectural history as well. . . . A magnum opus by one of the most highly regarded architectural historians of our day.
The Architects' Journal
Scrupulously researched, elegantly written (with a refreshing lack of jargon), beautifully illustrated and designed . . . the book is a feast for eye and mind, challenging assumptions and deepening understanding on almost every page. . . . Wright's ability to translate the poetic essence of a place into form was unrivaled, and no one has explored it with more insight than Levine.
The Times Literary Supplement
Wright's personal history was extraordinary by any standards, and it is the great strength of Neil Levine's book that he manages to correlate the developments in Wright's architecture with the events in his life, without being sentimental or over-reverent.
— Andrew Ballantyne
Library Journal
This book is a monumental project aimed at describing, explaining, and evaluating Frank Lloyd Wright's life and work. Wright was both an architect and writer, and Levine fine arts, Harvard Univ. has synthesized both aspects in this historical analysis. Levine explains Wright's beliefs concerning the relationships among humans, architecture, and nature and how events in Wright's personal life changed those beliefs as the decades passed. The emphasis is definitely architectural, but there is ample information about Wright's personal life, his literary work, and reactions from critics to make this book qualify as a biography. The author goes through painstaking descriptions of nearly all of Wright's major works, and one wishes only that there were more photographs to illustrate the text. This book, rather than any extant Wright biography, is the source for those who want to know about the immensity and worth of the accomplishments of Frank Lloyd Wright. Recommended for public and academic libraries.Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
Choice
A magnum opus by one of the most highly regarded architectural historians of our day. -- Choice
The Architects Journal
Scrupulously researched, elegantly written...beautifully illustrated and designed... the book is a feast for eye and mind...." -- The Architects' Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691027456
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/22/1997
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 459,825
  • Product dimensions: 9.38 (w) x 11.07 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction
Ch. I Beginnings of the Prairie House 1
Ch. II Abstraction and Analysis in the Architecture of the Oak Park Years 23
Ch. III Voluntary Exile in Fiesole 59
Ch. IV The Story of Taliesin 75
Ch. V Building against Nature on the Pacific Rim 113
Ch. VI From Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe and Death Valley 149
Ch. VII Writing An Autobiography, Reading the Arizona Desert 191
Ch. VIII The Temporal Dimension of Fallingwater 217
Ch. IX The Traces of Prehistory at Taliesin West 255
Ch. X The Guggenheim Museum's Logic of Inversion 299
Ch. XI Signs of Identity in an Increasingly One-Dimensional World 365
Conclusion: Wright and His/story 419
Notes 435
Bibliographical Note 505
List of Illustrations 507
Index 515
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