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The Natural House Hardcover – March, 1954

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Editorial Reviews

Dust jacket notes: "When Frank Lloyd Wright turns his attention to one of the most important personal problems now facing practically everyone in our society - it is a time for rejoicing. The world's greatest architect here meets the urgent problem of suitable shelter for The Family in a democracy, in a magnificent and - as was to be expected - challenging book. Here, presented at last in full detail, is the natural house. The moderate cost houses described in this book and profusely illustrated with 116 photographs, plans and drawings, are houses - of infinite variety for people of limited means - in which living has become for their owners a purposeful new adventure in freedom and dignity. Mr. Wright tells the story of the world famous 'Usonian' houses, so that we now see, in text and illustrations, how they have evolved from original conception to final execution. He has also written a step-by-step description of the 'Usonian Automatic,' explaining just how that remarkable house is built - a simplified method of construction so devised that the owners themselves can build it with great economy and beauty. For this purpose, there are, in addition to Mr. Wright's text, special photographs and drawings of the method and materials, showing clearly how the Usonian Automatic is built. For more than a half century Frank Lloyd Wright has been the prophet of a new idea in architecture. It is called 'organic architecture.' It has spread throughout the world. Its liberating influence now appears - or semblances of it appear - nearly every structure being built. During this period of incomparable achievement, there has been a profoundly mistaken notion that Mr. Wright has built only for the rich. This book is convincing evidence of the error of that notion...."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Horizon Pr; 1st edition (March 1954)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0818000074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0818000072
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,677,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Brand on November 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
3.5 starts would have been my rating if given that option.
The Natural House is essentially Wrights explanation/defense/sales-pitch for his Usonian houses. The first chapter (Organic Architecture) was written by Wright in 1936 and originally published in The Architect's Journal of London. The next four chapters (Building the New House, In the Nature of Materials: A Philosophy, The Usonian House I, The Usonian House II) were written by Wright and first published in 1943 in "An Autobiography". The remainder of the book was written by Wright in 1953-4.
I found the first 67 pages to be a difficult read. I am not an architect and suspect that an architect would get more out of these first three chapters. These chapters were part autobiography, part history, part philosophy and part contemptuous rant against all architects who were not his own students. Having plodded through those pages, I feel that I could have skipped them.
Suddenly, on the 68th page, the book takes a dramatic turn and becomes a much easier read. This last three-fourths of the book explains Unosian architecture in very accessible terms. There are multiple examples of houses with photographs of exterior and interior views and floor plans. I found the floor plans to be the most beneficial and interesting part of the book and would buy the book for the floor plans alone.
In the explanatory text Wright discusses building location, foundations, lighting, materials, insulation, heating, cooling, furnishings, contractors, etc. Each topic is discussed in fairly general terms, but since Wright's approach is quite different from most other architects, the general explanations are valuable.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chris Morgan on March 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Written in 1954, this short book is somewhat dated but Wright's words and thoughts are universal enough to be meaningful today. Wright's view of "The Natural House" adds cultural understanding to how we build and describes an idealistic precursor to contemporary "eco-building." Required reading for anyone who is interested in the curtural context of the building process.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By knox2@clemson.edu on January 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I wanted to use The Natural House as a book for a graduate seminar on Frank Lloyd Wright I am teaching this semester at Clemson University. Sadly, it is not in print. This is one of the original treatises on sustainable architecture. Please, someone reprint it! Thanks.
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