John H. Howe, Architect: From Taliesin Apprentice to Master of Organic Design

John H. Howe, Architect: From Taliesin Apprentice to Master of Organic Design


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John H. Howe, Architect: From Taliesin Apprentice to Master of Organic Design by Jane King Hession, Tim Quigley

In 1932 nineteen-year-old John H. Howe arrived at Taliesin as a charter member of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship. There he would remain for the next thirty-two years, earning a reputation as “the pencil in Wright’s hand” before establishing his own architectural practice in Minnesota.

This is the first book to tell Howe’s story and also the first full account of his place in the history of modern architecture—as chief draftsman and valued interpreter of Wright’s designs and as a prolific architect in his own right. Illustrated throughout with Howe’s sublime drawings, this biography is a testament to the underappreciated architect’s extraordinary design and rendering skills.

Influenced by Wright’s principles of organic architecture, Howe operated under the conviction that “the land is the beginning of architecture.” Architectural historians Jane King Hession and Tim Quigley show how this belief worked especially well for Howe in Minnesota, where his buildings appear to have grown naturally and organically from the landscape. Also remarkable are the visionary architectural schemes Howe created while serving time in prison during World War II as a conscientious objector—futuristic visions that anticipated Eero Saarinen’s later designs for airports and Victor Gruen’s for America’s first indoor shopping mall.

An enlightening look at an exemplary life in architecture, this book finally brings the accomplishment—and significance—of John H. Howe to the fore and at the same time illuminates a fascinating chapter in American architectural history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816683017
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication date: 07/22/2015
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 10.30(w) x 10.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jane King Hession, an architectural historian and curator specializing in modernism, is a founding partner of Modern House Productions, coauthor of Frank Lloyd Wright in New York: The Plaza Years, 1954-1959 and Ralph Rapson: Sixty Years of Modern Design, and a former president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.

Tim Quigley, AIA, is principal of Quigley Architects and taught architectural studio and history courses for twenty years at the University of Minnesota and Ball State University. He is a former president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, vice president of the Minnesota chapter of Docomomo, and president of the advisory board of the Goldstein Museum of Design at the University of Minnesota.

Table of Contents


Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer
Introduction: The Land is the Beginning
1. The Taliesin Fellowship
2. A Sandstone Exile
3. Return to Taliesin
4. After Wright
5. The Freedom of California
6. A New Career in Minnesota
Epilogue: A Lasting Legacy
Selected Projects
Illustration Credits

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