Revisiting architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s solutions-based-design thinking could inspire fixes for the most confounding of current housing crises, urban design challenges, and forthcoming climate change problems.
Clogged freeways, skyrocketing housing costs, vanishing resources — they’re all-too-common problems for today’s urban dwellers.
Wright’s building methods developed out of an exuberant trifecta of exploration, gumption, and risk. In each unique new difficulty he faced, Wright reciprocally solved it with an equally fresh and effective method or means. In channeling this approach — seeing problems as opportunities — Wright aficionados believe we might be able to assess how to make cities denser while maintaining livability and open space, park cars where there’s little room to do so, or perhaps identify new construction materials that won’t strain precious resources.
Most new buildings today are built with timber — a finite resource without the benefits of thermal mass and coated with synthetic stucco, which is neither durable nor healthy — but Wright would’ve balked at that banal palette. He constantly tested unconventional materials that could save costs, weather better, be more durable, or contribute to the efficient operation of the building. Wright experimented with materials such as Pyrex glass tubes at the Johnson Wax building, pre-fab housing (the “Ready Cut Homes” concept), and cutting-edge adhesives to fuse corner glass in his Wisconsin house windows.
Read the full article about Frank Lloyd Wright as inspiration to solving urban design challenges by Wendy Gilmartin at GOOD Magazine.
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