Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal
Frank Lloyd Wright was deeply ambivalent about cities—“A parasite of the spirit is here, a whirling dervish in a whirling vortex,” he wrote of the growing American metropolis in his 1932 book The Disappearing City.
The new exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal, examines his divided opinions and radical new ideas for skyscrapers and for the urbanization of an American landscape titled “Broadacre City.” On view is the spectacular 12-foot-by-12-foot model of the project, which merges one of the earliest schemes for a highway flyover with an expansive, agrarian domain, as well as a selection of the major architect’s drawings, films, and large-scale architectural models. Wright’s fascinating vision is paired with his innovative structural experiments for building a vertical city. Projects, from the early San Francisco Call Building (1912) to Manhattan’s St. Mark’s-in-the-Bouwerie Towers (1927–31) to a controversial mile-high skyscraper, engage questions of urban density and seek to bring light and landscapes to tall buildings.
Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal celebrates the recent joint acquisition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s extensive archive by MoMA and Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library.
Images: Pedro E. Guerrero. I'm an Architect (detail). 1947. Gelatin silver print. © 2014 Pedro E. Guerrero Archives; Frank Lloyd Wright. Broadacre City (detail). Project, 1934–35. Model in four sections: painted wood, cardboard, and paper. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)