Frank Lloyd Wright | HOW TO SEE the "American Home" with Matthew Skjonsberg and Michael Osman



working at an ad from the Sunday Chicago Tribune from July 8 1917 actually and this is of a house that is according to the caption being built and then there's a huge headline that says you can own an American home so striking headline I think it's important to think about the fact that you can own an American home is in every newspaper that's circulated throughout the Chicago area so anybody who picks up that newspaper is being addressed by this sentence but furthermore they're being told that they can not just own an American at home but a distinctly American architecture by a distinct American architect probably the most famous architect of that time 1917 Frank Lloyd Wright yeah on the shop drawings and on the folio that was published by the Richards company every drawing that we saw said usually in the lower-right patent applied for which for us was a clue that Wright was interested in interfacing with industry and creating intellectual property from his designs and typically a work of art will be copyrighted but an invention is something that you patent so it was an interesting idea to think about architecture or something that you could penned I think the point is since the beginning of his career Wright has been very interested in how the machine can be an emancipatory thing that this is the forerunner of democracy as he calls it so the evils that are experienced through industrial process talking about inequity in labor or ecological degradation which was already apparent at that time so he was interested in the architect as an artist being able to harness this emancipatory quality of the machine and bring that to everyone everyone who picks up a paper as it turns out I think what's important about having a factory built house is that in order to get the common person as it were to have access to a house you'd need to reduce the cost of the labor that it would take to make that house so engaging the factory meant that you could reduce the amount of labor that was on the jobsite so for right engaging in the factory was really about democratizing access to houses more generally but also of course to his own authored beautiful houses so in the 19-teens when he's approached by the richards company the labor market is very expensive in the US and as a result engaging in factory labor would have made sense by the 1930s during the Great Depression the labor labor is very cheap so right moves away from factory made houses precisely because he can make houses as he always wanted to in the most beautifully crafted way possible with intricate and incredibly beautiful details the difference between a prefabricated house made in the factory and the houses that we're looking at here is that these houses were made actually by master craftsmen the idea was to capitalize on the cheap labor market during the Great Depression and give access to people who otherwise wouldn't have access to Frank Lloyd Wright homes to a system of houses that he called Usonian which would populate the entire continent of the United States so this brings us maybe from the houses that were built in wood to those that were built in concrete the Usonian automatic system which was intended to be built of concrete blocks and these were intended to be made by the home builders themselves from the soil coming from their own property so the intention was and several of these houses were made that way that the clients usually husband and wife would work together making the blocks they would work together establishing the slab for the house these vertical rods were situated at regular intervals at two foot on center around the perimeter the blocks were slid down onto these rods and as subsequent courses were laid up horizontal rods were also inserted this was definitely a paradigm shift that it goes away from industrialized products to locally sourced site-specific mode of production I think it was concerned about the role of architecture in society he was ambitious that architecture not be lost as a cultural force and so his ambition for first systems and then for standards were all in a way were guided by the ambition that it be something that's a cultural force when you talk about Usonian house you so need to him as a term for a culturally mature United States so if you talk about you too can own an American home in this case it's talking about an aspiration for a greater society actually

2 Comments

  • Rob ten Napel

    April 14, 2019

    Love your beautiful little movies.

    Reply
  • MisterBassBoost

    April 14, 2019

    Great content. Keep it up!

    Reply

Leave a Reply