Frank Lloyd Wright Fellowship 70th Year Reunion

by Robert Green Architect-AIA

The Frank Lloyd Wright Fellowship's 70th Year Reunion was held at Mr. Wright's home in Spring Green, Wisconsin September 25 through September 29, 2002.

Forty-three years after the death of Frank Lloyd Wright, many of us who had worked with him and studied under him during his life met together once again to pay honor to Frank Lloyd Wright and Organic Architecture, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Fellowship created in 1932 from which we had all benefited so much. Studying under the great Frank Lloyd Wright was an honor and an experience unimaginable; I know that I learned more about architecture in general, and Organic Architecture in particular, than in all the years I spent studying architecture at Georgia Tech.

This time though, before going, I spoke with the new CEO of Taliesin, Jim Goulka, and he said that I should bring my many boards with pictures of my work for all to see. So I did, driving from Atlanta to Wisconsin with an architect friend, Nelson Brackin, and five 30 inch by 40 inch foam boards including many photos and plans of houses and other buildings I had designed. Mr. Goulka was impressed with my work, he immediately asked if I could make a link from my web site to theirs, and from theirs to mine.

Before I arrived at Taliesin, though, I had an appointment to meet a man and his wife who had driven down from Green Bay, Wisconsin to interview me about possibly being the architect of their new house. They rented a conference room at the motel I was staying in and we met and talked and looked at pictures of my work for almost three hours. They did not want a big house, and their budget of around $350,000 should allow me to do something very fine for them. I recall that they wanted to know just what was meant by "Organic Architecture". So I tried to explain.

"Organic Architecture was a word that Frank Lloyd Wright coined in the attempt to explain his architecture, and why it looked so different from other buildings. Organic: meaning that the building appeared to grow from the ground, all of its parts belonging to the whole like some organic plant, one space inside flowing into another, the same materials used both inside and out, the inside part of the exterior and vice versa, one integrated, organic whole. And definitely NOT like most houses, say, which are nothing but big boxes with little boxes called rooms inside the big box; and the only way to know what box you're in is to paint one room blue and the next one yellow or something."

I left, thinking that they would have me design their home.

I drove on out to Taliesin, registered, and then tacked up the boards showing my work on a wall of the drafting room.

The activities began with an open house held near Mr. and Mrs. Wright's home at Taliesin where refreshments were served in the court. At Hillside, apprentice architectural work was exhibited in the drafting room by drawings, pictures, and slide projections. The drafting room tables were filled with drawings, models and pictures of current student work. That same evening, a picnic supper was served on the hill between Tan-y-deri and Midway. It was at this event that many of us found old friends and met new people now at Taliesin. And that evening, in that location with the wind blowing across the meadows and onto that hill, it was the coldest time during the whole trip.



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