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It's just not Wright.
November 16, 2004 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Only about 350 of the original 400 structures designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright are still standing. As of last week, that number has decreased by one. The demolition of the 1916 W.S. Carr house in Grand Beach, Michigan was the first Wright building in over 30 years to be demolished. Mark another loss to the heritage of U.S. Modernism.
posted by ScottUltra (12 comments total)

 
Are there any photos where it doesn't look like a public washroom (albeit one sitting on prime beachfront property)?
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:45 AM on November 16, 2004


IIRC that Wright house (login: burbia, pw: psychoburbia) had already been completely gutted and redesigned inside, as well as significantly altered on the exterior, and was not a particularly good example of what made Wright an Architect of Historical Importance to begin with.

there's a lot in the great lakes region that should be preserved, and not just Wright structures, but sometimes, you just got to let it go.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:51 AM on November 16, 2004


That first link requires registration but it's just an AP article. A free copy at CNN.
posted by smackfu at 11:51 AM on November 16, 2004


I wasn't able to find any really fantastic photos of the property online, but here are a couple more: [01] [02 - fourth image in the top row]

It definitely wan't one of his "big name" structures (it was no Fallingwater) and had fallen into disrepair over the years. I still think preservation is appropriate for any building by an architect as important as Wright, though. Then again, I'm a fanatic preservationist, especially when it comes to modernism.
posted by ScottUltra at 11:56 AM on November 16, 2004


350 out of 400 sounds like a good number to me, once you account for the reality that they can't all stand forever.
posted by orange swan at 11:59 AM on November 16, 2004


Yep, that's damned good odds, frankly. I wouldn't complain.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:51 PM on November 16, 2004


considering that most of them have leaky roofs and sagging cantilevers, it really is a wonder 350 are still standing.
posted by crunchland at 1:56 PM on November 16, 2004


Yep, that's damned good odds, frankly. I wouldn't complain.

Frankly? Well, I can't Wrightly disagree.
posted by kindall at 2:07 PM on November 16, 2004


I'm in favour of preserving buildings that are historically notable and really represent a particular architectural style or period. But 350 out of 400 goes far beyond preserving noteworthy examples.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:19 PM on November 16, 2004


He only designed 400? Or more but only built 400 himself?
posted by billsaysthis at 4:03 PM on November 16, 2004


Even the greatest artists do some second-rate stuff.

Brahms had the sense to burn a lot of his own less good things: In October 1890 he started the process of destroying incomplete works or abandoned compositions. He burned all that he wrote before the age of 19 as well as some sketches of later masterpieces. As a result Brahms's rep is, I'm certain, considerably higher tham it would be had the musicologists had these clinkers to dig up and "rediscover."

I doubt Frank's shade will miss this one much.
posted by jfuller at 4:05 PM on November 16, 2004


As a result Brahms's rep is, I'm certain, considerably higher than it would be had the musicologists had these clinkers to dig up and "rediscover."

I'm not sure that the constant "rediscovery" of secondary works substantially damages the stature of significant artists. There are any number of important authors, for instance, whose legacies are constantly assaulted by the publication of letters and unfinished works, all to little effect.

If anything, I would prefer to err on the side of preservation. Remember: Kafka wanted to burn everything, too.

That said, it's different with architecture. Buildings, unlike books or music, are expensive to maintain. I think there's enough critical interest in Wright's work to assure that the proper preservation decisions will be made (this building doesn't seem like much of a loss). I'm more worried about the works of lesser-known architects.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:53 PM on November 16, 2004


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