De gustibus non est disputandum

by Don Friedman on May 26, 2017


I am not a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright. That is not the same thing as saying that I think he was a terrible architect. Any number of people I greatly respect tell me that he was great, so I try to separate my personal taste and opinions from a discussion of the objective merits of his work.

I have what appear to me to be good reasons for my opinions. For example, when using the Vitruvian Triad, I tend to lean most heavily on “solidity” because it’s such a large part of my work. Wright’s buildings, rather famously, have their problems with this virtue. If I tended most towards the “beauty” point on the triangle, I’d value his buildings more, since they are beautiful. If I tended most toward the “usefulness” point on the triangle, I might value his buildings less. Twenty-five years ago, I attended a lecture series at the Guggenheim Museum. The seat pitch in the museum’s auditorium was extremely tight – worse than economy airline seat spacing – and I am tall. That auditorium is associated for me with excruciating pain which, coupled with the knowledge that I am roughly half a foot taller than Wright, makes me think that perhaps comfort for all users was given short shrift in the room’s design.

In any case, I may need to go see the exhibit at MoMA for his 150th birthday. It sounds like fun, in a rubber-necking kind of way.

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