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Words of Frank Lloyd Wright

The Forties

As the decade of the forties began, Frank Lloyd Wright's practice began to grow. In 1940-41, the Museum of Modern Art held a retrospective exhibit where he received several awards and honors. During World War II, he was an outspoken pacifist and encouraged conscientious objector status for some of his apprentices, prompting the FBI to investigate whether he was obstructing the war effort. The war brought most construction to a standstill, and only a handful of Wright's designs were built between 1941 and 1945. Nevertheless, the Second World War interrupted Wright's career less than the First, and various projects initiated during the war years came to fruition soon after the war was over when construction actively resumed.

Though well into his seventies by now, Wright's work of this decade provides evidence of the continuing vitality of his powers of invention. In addition to rectangles, triangles, hexagons and octagons as the basis for residential floor plans, the circle and the helix appeared in his constructed work. The Jacobs House, designed in 1943, was the first of a series of houses that he built with curved plans. This "solar hemicycle" has a two-story living area that bends around a circular sunken garden court with the bedrooms opening off a balcony above. The other side of the the house is half buried in the hilltop, over which rises the walls. Circles and spirals were also used to spectacular effect in the S. C. Johnson Research Tower (1944), the Morris Gift Shop (1948), and the Guggenheim Museum which he was commissioned to design in 1943.

Links to photographs and other materials:

Florida Southern College, (1938 - 1954), Lakeland, Florida. Walking tour with photographs and information about Roux Library (1941), Esplanades (1941), Industrial Arts Building (1942), Administration Building (1945), etc.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1943), New York, preliminary version. Drawing.

Herbert Jacobs House II (1943), Middleton, Wisconsin. Solar hemicycle house; history and extensive photographic documentation of restoration.

Jacobs House II (1943), Middleton, Wisconsin. Discussion and color photographs.

S. C. Johnson and Son Research Tower (1944), Racine, Wisconsin. Color photograph of exterior.

Lowell Walter House, "Cedar Rock" (1945), Quasqueton, Iowa. Official Cedar Rock web site; photographs and discussion of the design and style of the house.

Lowell Walter House. Blog with color photographs of exterior and interior.

Melvyn Maxwell Smith House (1946), Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Usonian house, color photographs.

Smith House. Blog with color photographs of exterior and interior.

Unitarian Meeting House (1947), Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin. Web site of the First Unitarian Society of Madison; historical and other information about the Meeting House.

Unitarian Meeting House. Discussion and photographs.

Unitarian Meeting House. Color photographs.

Unitarian Meeting House. Color photographs and study resources.

Curtis Meyer House (1948), Galesburg, Michigan. Color photograph.

Meyer House. Color photographs.

David I. Weisblatt House (1948), Galesburg, Michigan. Color photographs.

Eric Pratt House (1948), Galesburg, Michigan. Color photograph.

Samuel Eppstein House (1948) Galesburg, Michigan. Color photographs.

Galesburg Country Homes. Color photographs of subdivision.

Parkwyn Village (1948), Kalamazoo, Michigan. Color photographs of exteriors.

V. C. Morris Gift Shop (1948), San Francisco, California. B/W photographs.

Clinton Walker House (1948), Carmel, California. Color photographs and study resources.

Walker House. Included in a blog featuring three houses in the "Carmel House and Garden Tour, 2012".

The Point (1948), Pittsburgh Point Park (never built). Drawing.

Howard Anthony House (1949), Benton Harbor, Michigan. Color photographs of exterior.

The Little House window design is Copyright © 1998 The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ.


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