SixtyYears of Living Architecture
With peace in Europe Holland was anxious to re-establish contact with the outside world and the focus of optimism was across the Atlantic. In architecture, renewed interest in Wright was part of the process of catching up with happenings. Interest in domestic architecture was high. The Netherlands faced the enormous task of replacing destroyed housing and other buildings. Thus from 1946 the Dutch architectural journals carried many reviews of America's professional publications of the preceding seven years. One event to interest them was an exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art: "The Small House of Tomorrow"--ten designs for small houses recently published in Ladies' Home Journal and the work of "talented young architects." 1 Wrights "Opus 497" project was included in the show.
A new Dutch architectural journal Bouw reviewed all the houses from a rather biased neofunctionalist standpoint and reproduced several images. 2 The designs were products of the European influence that had swept America in the 1930s, given momentum by the immigrant "leftwing Moderns." Wright dismissed them as self-proclaimed "torch-bearers of Architecture modern and all there is of the good life." He thought that assumption "false of course" and further, because the Europeans had taken up prime teaching posts in America, his country was soon exploited. 3
"Opus 497" had many attributes now associated with the Modern Movement: flat roof, glass walls, steel, concrete ( Bouw called it "experimental"). Indeed, at first glance it was much like the other exhibits in the New York show. But it was a type developed by Wright around 1930 and with slight study was easily distinguishable from them. 4 The Bouw caption explained that the large living space--about half the house--was a glass cube, separated into sitting and dining areas by "living plants." The roof, with a low lantern, was of reinforced concrete, and ceilings were "brought low above the glass walls, to rise again to [it]." The
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Architectural Excursions:Frank Lloyd Wright, Holland and Europe. Contributors: Donald Langmead - Author, Donald Leslie Johnson - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 173.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.