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The Wright Space: Pattern and Meaning in Frank Lloyd Wright's Houses Paperback – July 1, 1991

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

The text of The Wright Space is enhanced by photographs, plans, and nine exquisitely drawn diagrams of key dwellings specially prepared by William Hook. Addressed to architects, landscape architects, architectural historians, environmental psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers of anesthetics, and the lay public with an interest in these subjects, 'The Wright Space' is essential reading for anyone who has ever lived in, looked at, or studied Frank Lloyd Wright's remarkable houses.

About the Author

Grant Hildebrand is Professor of Architecture and Art History at the University of Washington, Seattle, and the author of "The Wright Space: Pattern and Meaning in Frank Lloyd Wright's Houses" (1991).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (July 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295971088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295971087
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 10.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,009,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Hildebrand really puts you into a selection of Wright's built spaces; you can imagine what it is like to move through and experience the changing spaces (height, length, turns) in several of Wright's famous houses, even if you've not visited in person. Hildebrand's extended discussion --and demonstration through stunning "3D" exploded diagrams-- of the primordial concepts of Refuge/shelter (those dark fireplace cores and inglenooks) and Prospect/outlook (distant elevated windows) applied to buildings dating to different stages of Wright's practice is most original and convincing. Author's scholarly prose is serviceable rather than equally soaring. Highly useful small plans (newly corrected and with compass indications!) and evocative B/W photographs supplement those amazing diagrams by Wm. Hook.
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Format: Paperback
Wright's buildings are some of the most appealing in history. Why?
Hildebrand applies a landscape theory developed by Jay Appleton (books also available on Amazon.com) - our early ancestors sought homesites high in the qualities of PROSPECT (ability to survey the surroundings) and REFUGE (protection from environmental and other threats), and thus we are programmed to find these qualities appealing.
Wright's large windows, sheltering eaves, solid stone, welcoming hearth, etc., are rich in Prospect and Refuge which give the subconscious signal "This is a great homesite!"
(Also see A PATTERN LANGUAGE, by Alexander, for more patterns underlying architectural appeal).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this superb book, Hildebrand attempts no less than a definitive explanation of the method used by Wright to weave his architectural magic. Using the theories of "prospect and refuge" & "order and complexity" he sets out to establish what he calls the "pattern" that reveals itself in Wright's residential designs. Backed by detailed exposition, plans, diagrams and photos of specific examples he convincingly does just that: present the "pattern" that, to a greater or lesser degree, permeates Wright's work. Also covered are various detail items which are often, though with a lesser frequency, present.

To the serious student of Wright's organic architecture, this book is an indispensible resource.
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Format: Paperback
Four antithetic concepts: prospect/refuge and complexity/order from Appleton's book taken to describe Wright's houses. All in a boringly polite, restrained and repetitive academic language. Appleton's concepts are so powerful that get half a book just pointing them over and over by example, without adding much depth to the conversation, as I discovered. The only possible argument against that is that there isn't any depth there to be added besides the revelation of the pattern itself. It's a Zen slap. Maybe. But Zen slaps are shorter than 200p. Another thing that I found amusing was the pattern analysis of Mario Botta's house in Stabio, which resulted more or less in the conclusion that it follows the Wright pattern. Now this really had me question the effectiveness of the author's method for detecting pleasurable settings :)

Now for the good things: the author researched quite a lot of material to get this book done, and as a result, there's a lot historical details that I found very interesting. Also some of the more lyrical, emotional descriptions are revealing (e.g. that of Fallingwater). The introductory chapters are quite revealing too. Also, there's an attempt to link Wright's emotional periods with evolution and preferences over prospect or refuge in its work.

Too bad academics these days have to research a 4 pages full of interdisciplinary bibliography to get the required assets for their credibility in the academic world. The market certainly doesn't require that much of an effort. Normal people will just agree with you or not. My 2 cents.
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