Tuesday 15 January 2008

Frank Lloyd Wright designs from the grave

A boathouse originally designed in 1905 by the celebrated Frank Lloyd Wright has finally been built.
Wright produced the design on spec for the University of Wisconsin but they declined to finance construction. For some reason, however, Wright was particularly fond of it and included it in a number of collections of his designs. In 1930 he even revamped it for concrete rather than the original stuccoed block.
Now the West Side Rowing Club of Buffalo NY has made the design a reality, on the banks of the Niagara River. Its powerful curtain wall and sweeping 'prairie' roof certainly make a statement.
No corners have been cut, with red cedar doors and diamond window panes. No wonder it cost over $5 million.
Unfortunately, Wright didn't worry about practicality too much. One client who complained that his new roof leaked was told: "That's how you know it's a roof." Which is memorable but unhelpful.
In this design, the doors are not wide enough for the riggers, so crews have to tilt the boats as they carry them in. Not a major problem really, but it says something about the people who carry the flame for FLW that they refused permission to widen the door frames even a tad. Some Lloyd Wright fanboyz even complained that it should not have been built anywhere except in the setting the old man designed it for in Wisconsin.More on the Frank Lloyd Wright Boathouse here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FLW was totally overrated. Many of the homes he designed are actually not that comfortable to live in. Not checking for the needed size of the door is typical of the precious, form-over-function mentality. A great many boats, and all of the best ones, unite excellence in form and function to create seaworthy designs that are also beautiful, for example S&S designs from this same era.