In architectural terms, the twentieth century can be largely summed up with two names: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson. Wright (1867 1959) began it with his romantic prairie style; Johnson (1906 2005) brought down the curtain with his spare postmodernist experiments.Read more...
In architectural terms, the twentieth century can be largely summed up with two names: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson. Wright (1867 1959) began it with his romantic prairie style; Johnson (1906 2005) brought down the curtain with his spare postmodernist experiments. Between them, they built some of the most admired and discussed buildings in American history.
Differing radically in their views on architecture, Wright and Johnson shared a restless creativity, enormous charisma, and an outspokenness that made each man irresistible to the media. Often publicly at odds, they were the twentieth century's flint and steel; their repeated encounters consistently set off sparks. Yet as acclaimed historian Hugh Howard shows, their rivalry was also a fruitful artistic conversation, one that yielded new directions for both men. It was not despite but rather because of their contentious--and not always admiring--relationship that they were able so powerfully to influence history.
In Architecture's Odd Couple, Howard deftly traces the historical threads connecting the two men and offers readers a distinct perspective on the era they so enlivened with their designs. Featuring many of the structures that defined modern space--from Fallingwater to the Guggenheim, from the Glass House to the Seagram Building--this book presents an arresting portrait of modern architecture's odd couple and how they shaped the American landscape by shaping each other."
- ISBN-13: 9781620403754
- ISBN-10: 1620403757
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- Publish Date: May 2016
- Page Count: 352
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-03-14
- Reviewer: Staff
In this upbeat and informative dual biography, Howard (Houses of the Founding Fathers) follows the intersecting—often conflicting—careers of 20th-century architects Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) and Philip Johnson (1906–2005) to demonstrate the influence each had on each other as well as on the American landscape. Though Wright is the acknowledged master, known for his provincial manner and organic style, Howard explains that Johnson brought a sleek international style into vogue and, as curator of architecture at MoMA and pedagogue at Yale’s School of Architecture, wielded enormous influence over mid-century building design. The 40-year age difference between the two architects makes for challenging chronology, as Howard must shift back and forth in time to describe each subject’s education and career. Still, he successfully shows that when Wright and Johnson’s architectural practices did overlap, their antagonistic relationship spurred both of them to their greatest achievements. Howard’s prose is fluid, and he deftly explains technical terms without slowing the story. The result is narrative non-fiction of a high order, enlivened by anecdotes and quotations from two very outspoken and colorful characters. Photos. (May)