Pulitzer Prize?winning critic Ada Louise Huxtable?s biography of America?s greatest architect
Renowned architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable?s biography Frank Lloyd Wright looks at the architect and the man, from his tumultuous personal life to his long career as a master builder. Along the way she introduces Wright?s masterpieces? from the tranquil Fallingwater to Taliesin, rebuilt after tragedy and murder?not only exploring the mind of the man who drew the blueprints but also delving into the very heart of the medium, which he changed forever.
The fascinating life and work of the great American architect gets a stimulating, well-balanced treatment in this installment of the Penguin Lives series. Huxtable, the Wall Street Journal architecture critic, pairs a critique of Wright's architecture with an engaging narrative of his scandalous private life, including his abandonment of his first family, the murder of a mistress and her children by a deranged servant, and other tempestuous relationships with artistic, high-strung women. She traces his achievements to his upbringing in a family of Unitarians, where, she contends, he was steeped in the Emersonian transcendentalism that led him to infuse the austere functionalism of high-modernist architecture with romantic spirituality and nature worship. He also acquired a self-righteous rectitude with which he faced down dubious clients, the architectural establishment, and the creditors who would bedevil him throughout a free-spending but impecunious life. Huxtable's well-researched account corrects Wright's mythologizing of his life, but she generally accepts his excuses that his misbehavior and megalomania were necessary to his artistic self-realization. She is clearly a big fan: her reviews of Wright's major buildings are warmly appreciative to adulatory; she considers his revolutionary redesigns of the family home to be models of livability, and his later hypermodern works to be almost miraculous prefigurations of today's computer-assisted geometries. With its dollop of sizzle, this fluently written biography will provoke renewed interest in Wright's architecture among general readers.