Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier: Context and Contrast with Martha and Elliot Rothman
Thursday mornings from 10:30-Noon on Zoom.
February 3, 10, 17, 24, and March 3.
Course limited to 16 participants.
For this OUW course, we want to examine the architectural heritage of Le Corbusier (1887-1965) and Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), two architects whose lives spanned from the late 19th century to a post-World War II world of developing technologies— Le Corbusier based almost exclusively in Europe, Frank Lloyd Wright firmly rooted in mid-western United States. We will look at selected work of both these “greats,” the contexts in which their work was developed, and discuss why each is (or is not) relevant to today’s architecture.
These two architects lived at a time when the majority of architects were men, white men. Each encountered, and worked with, some women architects, but their views and actions were influenced by their time. Each has been criticized for his political views and alleged prejudices. They can be judged by today’s perceptions; but we propose, rather, to look together at their work in context. We will read, look, discuss and learn together. We hope that this course will help each of us to understand the work of these two architects better and appreciate their importance for architecture today. We have selected a few key works and utopian visions to look at in the class, but we are not attempting a comprehensive view of their works.
1. Formative Beginnings:
2. Residential Masterworks:
Villa Savoye, Poissy, France (1928-1931)
Fallingwater, Mill Run, PA (1935-1939)
3. Sacred Spaces:
Unity Temple, Oak Park, IL (1908)
Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp (1955)
4. Utopian Visions:
Immeubles-Villas 1920s/Plan Voisin (1925)
Broadacre City (1932)
5. Later Works:
Guggenheim Museum, NYC (1959)
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts (1961)
Harvard U, Cambridge MA
Fondation Le Corbusier (est. 1968)
The Taliesen Fellowship (est. 1982)
Frank Lloyd Wright: A Life, by Ada Louise Huxtable (Penguin Books, 2008).
Le Corbusier, by Kenneth Frampton (Thames & Hudson World of Art, 2001).
Fallingwater Rising: Frank Lloyd Wright, E.J. Kaufman, and America’s Most Extraordinary House, by Franklin Toker (Alfred A. Knopf 2004).
Each session will begin with introductory remarks and a slide presentation, followed by discussion. Questions for discussion and additional reading will be distributed prior to each class.
For our first class, please read the following article:
“When Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier Had a Public Argument in The New York Times,”
- Fallingwater, by Frank Lloyd Wright
- Villa Savoy by LeCorbusier