Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Examines Frank Lloyd Wright's House on the Mesa project, which, despite its familiarity to most historians of 20th-century architecture, has never been thoroughly studied within the general context of Wright's expansive oeuvre and the specific circumstances of the Museum of Modern Art's 1932 'Modern Architecture: International Exhibition.' Numerous drawings for the project survive in the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, although only photographic evidence survives of the original model. Scattered references to the project appear in Wright's writings, most notably his correspondence with wealthy Denver businessman George Cranmer, whose family served as a kind of inspirational muse for the architect. Of special importance is a letter from Wright to critic Lewis Mumford recently discovered in the Lewis Mumford Papers at the University of Pennsylvania. Handwritten on the back of a photograph of the project's model, Wright's letter sheds new light on some of the project's technical innovations, which included textile-block walls, cantilevered roofs, and stepped casements. Less a response to the International Style, as is commonly held, the project was Wright's model of individualized, machine-age luxury for a merit-based democracy.
Original Publication Citation
Wojtowicz, R. (2005). A Model House and a House's Model: Reexamining Frank Lloyd Wright's House on the Mesa Project. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 64(4), 522-551. doi:10.2307/25068203
Wojitowicz, Robert, "A Model House and a House's Model: Reexamining Frank Lloyd Wright's House on the Mesa Project" (2005). Art Faculty Publications. 2.
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