Monday, March 01, 2010

Research: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Living City

Research

Frank Lloyd Wright and the Living City
Frank Lloyd Wright and the Living City by David G. De Long

While writing my latest novel, I used this wonderful resource for information about Mr. Wright's Broadacre City. David G. De Long put together a great (and heavy) book of photos and sketches and essays from Jean-Louis Cohen, Michael Desmond, David A. Hanks, Richard Jones, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, and Jack Quinan.

I was especially pleased to note that of the four cities where Mr. Wright showcased the models and plans of Broadacre in 1935, Pittsburgh was among them. Knowing that Edgar J. Kaufmann (owner of the Pittsburgh-based Kaufmann's Department Stores and of Fallingwater) lived in Pittsburgh, it should be no surprise that the exhibit would grace the city for a while.

It's a wonderful tidbit I'm going to slip into my novel.

For anyone unfamiliar with the concept of Broadacre City, the term "broadacre" comes from Mr. Wright's idea that each family home would sit on an acre of land. He believed this minimum amount of space necessary for quality living. Broadacre City was essentially Frank Lloyd Wright's city of the future, the utopia that never was, complete with Aerotors, a helicopter-like machine.

Not all of Broadacre was so fantastically futuristic, however. In fact, some of its structures were based on buildings already built, such as aspects of Taliesin, Price Tower, and the Wyoming Valley School, among many others.

The photos and sketches in this book are fascinating unto themselves. Add in the essays and commentary and I admit to pouring over these pages for hours at a time.

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