Everything Wright is Wrong Again


He was arguably the greatest American architect that has ever lived completing hundreds of projects and designing even more. He was a brilliant designer creating not only organic architecture like the famous Falling Water home and originating the Prairie house designs, but he also provided the world with innovative building techniques such as gravity heat and the creative use of concrete as a building component.

From his unique cape, cane and hat to his Epicurean lifestyle Wright was larger than life. Although in financial burden most of the time he continued to live in the extreme as if driven by the intensity of his grand visions. His eccentricities were part of his unashamed showmanship and contrarian quips. He was a character placed in a mundane world always ready to criticize it and always ready to display his abilities so that the glory would be his and his alone. You’ve heard the phrase I’m sure that “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it”; well, Frank Lloyd Wright wasn’t bragging.

“Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility.
I chose the former and have seen no reason to change”

Wright’s iconic building and grandeur stemmed from his love of nature and unmatched genius. Yet for all of his incredibleness he suffered from an ego that was higher than his mile-high tower. Wright never shied away from letting us know how good he was nor did he give credit to His Creator. Instead, Wright seemed to relish in worshiping the creature while creating social havoc and distress.

It is this quality that interests me. What is it about genius that lends itself to madness? What is it about
brilliance that propels itself to social stupidity? What is it about artistic virtuosity that leads to over-bearing pomposity? Perhaps it is as simple as knowledge puffing up. A man given tremendous gifting without having the right humility to go with it will become the worst sort of tyrant.
Which leads us to the next query- Why?

falling-water.jpgWhy would God give a man so much greatness and yet not, at the same time, give him the new heart to praise Him for it? Wright was given the mind to see into the Creator’s design as few have ever done. He could trace God’s finger through the landscape and reproduce the internal joy that comes from a well-constructed creation and yet he was wretched figure having a torched life filled mostly of himself and his delusions. Beauty and madness side by side. Genius and gibberish. Glory and disaster.

“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature”

It could be that Frank Lloyd Wright was merely an exaggerated version of us. What he had we have all suffered from; an unrestrained pride. And in genius that hubris was at times admirably humorous and at other times purely despicable and intolerably unkind. Whatever the case one thing is for sure, you will be dazzled by his work. If you are not familiar with his catalog you should get yourself acquainted. See the majesty of God in Wright’s work, even if Wright himself was too blind to notice.

Read More here and here. An excellent resource on Wright is the PBS documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.


About ostrakinos

Pastoral sojourner in the world. Raising up four daughters. Citizen of earth. Resident of heaven. Taking ten looks at Christ.

Posted on March 3, 2008, in Cultural. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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