The OA+D Archives recently announced their winter 2023 issue of the Journal of Organic Architecture + Design which will feature the life and creative work of architect and Taliesin Apprentice, Allen Lape Davison.
Titled "GOOD SON OF TALIESIN :: THE LIFE AND WORK OF ALLEN LAPE DAVISON" this issue will feature 40 pages with over 50 images of Davy's amazing creative work.
Joining Taliesin in 1938, Frank Lloyd Wright soon saw that "Davy" was an especially talented delineator, responsible for the origination of the dramatic night scenes of several Wright projects. Davison also differentiated himself as a creative powerhouse with his "box projects" given to Mr. Wright for his birthday and for Christmas. As a TAA staff architect, Davy was responsible for designing more than a dozen residential projects over the next fifteen years until his death at Taliesin West on December 18, 1974.
This 40 page journal features an introductory biographical essay as well as scores of never-before-published drawings, photos, and artwork that feature Davy's remarkable creative genius.
You can PRE-ORDER this issue and be one of the first to receive it when it ships HERE.
Or you can give the gift of this issue and more by purchasing an annual subscription to the Journal of Organic Architecture + Design HERE.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation will offer its biannual Discovery Day at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ on Saturday, Dec. 9. Visitors can dive into the realms of art, architecture and nature while exploring Wright's winter home and studio at a discounted rate.
"Whether you're an architecture aficionado or you're just curious about the design world, Discovery Day provides visitors a unique opportunity to delve into the inspiring history and enduring legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright," Alex Freyermuth, manager of cultural programs at the Frank Llyod Wright Foundation, said in a press release.
"Since this is not a formal tour of Taliesin West, guests can explore the grounds at their own pace while fully immersing themselves in Wright's work and principles, which are just as relevant today as they were in his time."
Discovery Day at Taliesin West is a family-friendly experience where guests can explore the site and take part in activities emphasizing its art, culture and history.
On Dec. 9, adults can get in for $5 while children ages 12 and under get in free. Guests must make a reservation for a specific time slot at franklloydwright.org.
The story goes that Frank Lloyd Wright was once summoned to testify in a lawsuit. When he took the witness stand, a lawyer asked what his occupation was. He answered, “I am the world’s greatest architect.” Afterwards, his embarrassed wife told him he should be more modest. “You forget,” he replied. “I was under oath.”
The remark was characteristic of Wright’s sly sense of humor, but he wasn’t really joking. He knew that in a career lasting some seventy years, he had transformed the practice of architecture. But he did something else, too: He established an aesthetic style so distinctively American that he may be not just the country’s greatest architect but its greatest visual artist of all time. Like the paintings of George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Moran, or Norman Rockwell, the buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright are not just strikingly successful artworks but successful in a specifically American way. They resonate because they ineffably express a sense of life steeped in the country’s most characteristic values: individuality, privacy, ambition, and tranquility.
Part of that resonance is attributable to Wright’s personality, which had both positive and negative elements. He blended the spiritual individualism of Walt Whitman or Ralph Waldo Emerson with the showbiz phoniness of a Mark Twain con man. If Wright’s virtues reflected his nation’s culture, so did his vices.
In fact, Whitman, Emerson, and Twain were all living when Wright was born in 1867. The America of his childhood was a hustling, youthful country in the process of metamorphosing from a slave-based, agricultural, frontier society into an industrial, manufacturing, capitalist dynamo. That transition accompanied a change in the national character: Whereas an earlier generation had envisioned the ideal citizen as a stalwart Jeffersonian farmer, post-Civil War Americans began celebrating the self-made, go-getting entrepreneur, the industrial titan who didn’t take no for an answer. The first installment of Horatio Alger’s novel Ragged Dick appeared in the year of Wright’s birth, and radical technological innovations—including improvements in trains, steamships, and harvesting and mining equipment—began propelling America toward unprecedented bounties.
Wright was two when the transcontinental railroad was completed, three when the first passenger elevator was installed in an office building, and eighteen when the first skyscraper was completed. In his youth, factories in Boston, New York, and Chicago became automated and unleashed a stream of steel and rubber, consumer goods and foodstuffs, in numbers never seen before. Floods of immigrants made American cities into megalopolises and brought a sense of hope and abundance no previous generation had ever experienced.
Wright rejected the central premise of the arts and crafts movement: its hostility to mechanization. In 1901, he delivered what would prove to be the most important lecture about his artistic goals. Under the revealing title “The Art and Craft of the Machine,” Wright insisted that the competing values of “human” authenticity and mass-producing mechanization could be harmonized through a third alternative, which he called the organic style. It would employ machinery to elevate the individual’s integrity. “The Machine is Intellect mastering the drudgery of earth that the plastic art might live,” he declared. “Its function [is] ultimately to emancipate human expression. . . . The machine is capable of carrying to fruition high ideals in art—higher than the world has yet seen!”
Wright argued that although he shared the craftsmen’s desire to emphasize human dignity, he thought their methods were counterproductive. They were essentially aristocratic in spirit, because few people could afford the time and expense of artisanal craftsmanship. Machinery would not destroy individuality but would instead make it possible for everyone, including the poor, to express their own individuality. He illustrated his point by reference to a famous passage in Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris, in which a medieval deacon points first at a book printed on Gutenberg’s newly invented printing press and then at a Gothic cathedral. “Alas,” he says. “This will kill that.” What Hugo meant, said Wright, was that whereas cathedral architecture had formerly been the way in which ideas were transmitted to an illiterate populace, the creation of the press gave a boost to literacy and enabled “human thought” to “perpetuat[e] itself . . . more simple and easy” than architecture. The downside was that architecture was no longer the primary channel of intellectual expression—and architects gradually lost their originality and genius.
During the Renaissance, Wright thought, builders had taken to imitating the past rather than creating new forms: they erected “pseudo-classic” copies of Greek and Roman temples, just as Daniel Burnham was now “pil[ing] up a mammoth aggregation of Roman monuments.” Not only were these imitations of ancient forms aesthetically boring—they were also spiritually reactionary: throwbacks to an age of aristocracy and ignorance rather than an architecture that gave voice to the future. Instead, Wright thought, architects would do what great writers such as Hugo himself had done: take advantage of the possibilities of new technology to express new ideas that would turn away from the dogmas of the past toward liberating all of humanity. Hugo had believed that “the machine was the great forerunner of democracy,” Wright thought—and he was right. Mechanization would take self-expression out of “the possession of kings and classes” and make it a possibility in “the every-day lives of all.”
It was not just that machinery would empower people to express themselves: It would also improve the quality of art. The craftsmen’s main aesthetic mistake, Wright argued, was in thinking that handmade objects were more truly human because of their imperfection. “The elaborate and fussy joinery of posts, spindles, jig sawed beams and braces” were not more truly human—let alone prettier—than the straight lines and precise fits that machines made possible. On the contrary, “the beauty of wood lies first in its qualities as wood,” and “the machine teaches us . . . that certain simple forms and handling are suitable to bring out the beauty of wood.” Modern technology “by its wonderful cutting, shaping, smoothing, and repetitive capacity, has made it possible to so use [wood] . . . that the poor as well as the rich may enjoy to-day beautiful surface treatments of clean, strong forms.”
Thus, Wright concluded, the machine was not the enemy but the liberator of human imagination. Once artists abandoned their sentimental and reactionary preoccupations, they would use the machine to “weave for the necessities of mankind . . . a robe of ideality no less truthful, but more poetical . . . beside which the art of old will be as the sweet, plaintive wail of the pipe to the outpouring of full orchestra.”
In the half century that followed, Wright’s architecture would evolve through several phases. Yet he would always welcome the possibilities of modern technology in service of humanity. “[The] machine is [man’s] best friend,” he predicted. “If the art of the Greek, produced at such cost of human life, was so noble and enduring, what limit dare we now imagine?”