This is the first book devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs for remaking the modern city. Stunningly comprehensive, The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright presents a radically new interpretation of the architect’s work and offers new and important perspectives on the history of modernism. Neil Levine places Wright’s projects, produced over more than fifty years, within their historical, cultural, and physical contexts, while relating them to the theory and practice of urbanism as it evolved over the twentieth century.
Levine overturns the conventional view of Wright as an architect who deplored the city and whose urban vision was limited to a utopian plan for a network of agrarian communities he called Broadacre City. Rather, Levine reveals Wright’s larger, more varied, interesting, and complex urbanism, demonstrated across the span of his lengthy career. Beginning with Wright’s plans from the late 1890s through the early 1910s for reforming residential urban neighborhoods, mainly in Chicago, and continuing through projects from the 1920s through the 1950s for commercial, mixed-use, civic, and cultural centers for Chicago, Madison, Washington, Pittsburgh, and Baghdad, Levine demonstrates Wright’s place among the leading contributors to the creation of the modern city. Wright’s often spectacular designs are shown to be those of an innovative precursor and creative participant in the world of ideas that shaped the modern metropolis.
Lavishly illustrated with drawings, plans, maps, and photographs, this book features the first extensive new photography of materials from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives. The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright will serve as one of the most important books on the architect for years to come.
Neil Levine is the Emmet Blakeney Gleason Research Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. His books include The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright (Princeton) and Modern Architecture: Representation and Reality.
"In his bracing new book, The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright, Neil Levine affirms the genius appellation, but challenges the anti-urbanist label, examining seven sites of Wright’s urban interventions. . . . Some readers of Neil Levine’s impressive book may conclude that since only a small portion of Wright’s urban designing was actually realized, his work in this realm must be judged a failure. That is not the case; even when Wright’s work survives only in words and drawings, they make significant contributions to our understanding of his achievement. This book, moreover, has another important dimension beyond Frank Lloyd Wright’s own colossal career. It explores the history of cities and the urban situations that foster--and impede--the progress of architecture and its role in creating a better, healthier and more felicitous environment."-Thomas S. Hines, Times Literary Supplement
"Levine . . . strives valiantly to break Wright’s partly vanguard, partly bonkers urban vision free from the tyranny of categorical misreading. This means contextualizing the nadir of Broadacre City within Wright’s own musings on city planning, which nearly span the length of his career, beginning with his designs for a suburban compound at Oak Park, Chicago in the 1890s."--Samuel Medina, Metropolis
"An authoritative study. . . . The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright challenges the long-held assumption that Wright was an anti-urbanist, and Levine conveys a clear view of Wright seeking to improve the urban experience."--Gwyn Lloyd Jones, Architecture Today
"Copiously illustrated with plans, maps, and photographs, this book sets forth a monument to one of the most prominent architects of the 20th century. . . . A feast for the eyes and a font of information, this title belongs in all institutions that teach architecture."--Library Journal
Table of Contents
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Neil Levine:
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A Home in a Prairie Town
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