In this miserable web world, full of nekulturny double-blowhards, jumped-up engineers, Den Beastly fatheads and other clueless types, A.C. Douglas is not to be missed, not ever.
“…(Frank Lloyd)Wright’s houses are notorious for their leaky roofs. As a house is the most elemental and paradigmatic instance of a shelter, a leaky roof would seem a most damning and fundamental fault. And so it would be were the house merely a building. With the possible exception of his very earliest work, none of Wright’s houses qualifies as a mere building. They’re all, as is all genuine architecture of any sort whatsoever, first and principally works of art. That’s to say, a concern with the aesthetic trumped all else in their design, and that’s only as it should be as that concern is architecture’s principal defining characteristic. Such has it been from architecture’s earliest beginnings, and such shall it always be.
Should Wright have taken more care in working out the nuts-and-bolts engineering details of his house designs? Perhaps. But it’s not as if his houses were ever dangers to, posed undue difficulties for, or were even experienced as inconvenient by, their original owners; not even the structurally problem-plagued, cutting-edge-innovative, and justly aesthetically world-famous Kaufmann house, “Fallingwater”, which only today, some 65 years after its building, is (was) in danger of collapsing without extensive (and wildly expensive) correction of its fundamental engineering faults. Like Kaufmann, Wright’s clients were invariably thrilled by, and felt privileged to own and occupy, what Wright gave them.
I’m perfectly willing to confess freely that Wright played fast and loose with the nuts-and-bolts engineering details of all his buildings. After establishing that a design he envisioned could be built without subsequently falling down or otherwise causing harm to his client, he considered attention to that sort of detail to be merely a nuisance, most especially if closer attention to such engineering details might have indicated that an aesthetic detail(s) would have to be altered in consequence. Wright’s attitude to his buildings, and to his clients and their use of those buildings, is best summed up in his (in)famous retort to a client who, at first, bitched to Wright about the leaks in the roof of his new house. Said Wright, “That’s what happens when you leave a work of art out in the rain.”
Glib, arrogant, cavalier, and the effusion of a monstrous ego most certainly, but in Wright’s case, essentially true nevertheless. And only an architect of Wright’s transcendent genius could (or should) get away with saying — and brag about saying — such a thing.
And what about the whine of, “…a Frank Lloyd Wright house never becomes your home…. […] You’re just the custodian [of] a monument to his genius. […] What if….you prefer to live by your own rules and you expect your house to play along?”
In short, and straightaway to the point, the answer is you let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages, and from there select a good, solid, bourgeois builder to build your house for you, and leave the all-too-rare Wrights of this world free to serve those worthy of their genius.
See how that works?
(I must confess, part of the pleasure this uncompromising aestheticism gives me is the way it almost casually puts the boot to that creepiest of creepy creeps, the horrible James Howard Kunstler. But I doubt that was Douglas’ intent, by any means. I doubt he’s ever even heard of Kunstler.)