Monday, June 17, 2013
Frank Lloyd Wright House in Palmer Woods
I find Frank Lloyd Wright's work intriguing, but his designs never seem practical. Although no one can argue his impact on architecture, I would not want to live in one of his houses. However, one style of his, Usonian, might be a template that could be adaptable for the masses. This particular example, with more pictures in the article linked to below, is in Detroit.
Wright envisioned this style of design as modular, adaptable for the specific needs of the person building the house. Built of concrete, glass, and steel rods, it uses practical materials. He designed about 60 houses in this style, around the country, and usually put them on cheap and odd-sized lots. And the classic FLW blending of indoors and outdoors is in full effect.
Still, I see a wall of windows in Michigan and I shudder thinking of winter heating bills. I think about a long hallway which has storage and displays but uses up space without being a room. The kitchen is great, but small and it was updated not in the style of the original design. There is no basement, attic, or garage. Apparently you are supposed to find somewhere else to store the typical household's possessions. Although it looks great, the practical side of me abhors the flat roof.
Incidentally, as a human being, Wright was basically a cad. He was fired by the guy who gave him his first big break when he took secret outside design jobs and didn't share those commissions with the firm. He almost destroyed his career again around 1910 by having an open affair with a client's wife and the two traveled to Europe together while still married to other people. He ignored his children, by and large, his second marriage lasted only a short time, and he cheated on all three of his wives. He spent money as fast as he could earn it and was perpetually in financial trouble.
Anyways, here is the article and more pictures: