Today happens to be the birthday of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. I have always loved residential architecture, in part, for the same reasons I love both humor and poetry. In fact, Wright’s buildings have been compared to poems because they merge with their environments the way well written literature merges with the reader’s minds and hearts. Inside Falling Water (above), it’s hard to tell where nature ends and the man-made structure begins. Likewise, with a great poem, it’s hard to tell where the words on the page end and our own thoughts and emotions begin.
Humor has a lot in common with architecture, too. Jokes, like buildings are all about scale, material, placement and proportion. Compare a McMansion to a landmark or a a smart-ass to a wit and you’ll find the same strengths and weaknesses. Cultivating our creative skills and refining our tastes in any discipline requires broadening our viewpoints and drawing analogies. There are certain virtues timeless quality shares across the spectrum of the arts. Rapper (arguably another word for poet) Ice Cube reminds us of this when he celebrates the Eames.
I challenge you to channel Ice Cube. The weather is wonderful this time of year. The days are long. Take a walk in your neighborhood with your eyes wide open. Notice the scale, materials, placement and proportion of the buildings around you. Think about form and function. Decide for yourself what works and what doesn’t. Consider these insights and observations when you revisit your favorite poems.
I’ll leave you this week, with a few great remarks.
Frank Lloyd Wright once said . . .
- Television is chewing gum for the eyes.
- A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.
- Bureaucrats: they are dead at 30 and buried at 60. They are like custard pies; you can’t nail them to a wall.
- Get the habit of analysis – analysis will in time enable synthesis to become your habit of mind.
- Less is only more where more is no good.
- Mechanization best serves mediocrity.
- Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.And finally . . .The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.
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