Saturday, November 19, 2005

12 Angry Books, #3

As Magnus Magnusson and Peter Sinclair used to say, "I've started, so I'll finish." That is, today I'm posting the third of my 'twelve influential books' in a bid to finish the job before the end of the year (the first and second I posted quite some time ago; the reason for bothering is here).

I could mention Heinlein's 'Red Planet' which I read early on, and which introduced the young me to the world of Heinlein and to SF; or EW Hildick's novels, which I really enjoyed as a really young me; but I'm sticking here with those that inspired the young adult me, not the young adolescent.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to 'Frank Lloyd Wright on Architecture,' selected writings from Frank from the period 1894-1940, edited by Frederick Gutheim. I found this in a second-handbook shop in my first year out of school, and I was bowled over. (As I open it now, with most of its well-thumbed pages falling out, the original price of $5.95 is still there -- a huge price in 1981 for a second-hand book without illustrations!)

This is not a coffee table book -- this is a book filled with Wright's writings on Architecture & the Machine; the Nature of Materials; the Logic of the Plan; the ideas of depth, integration, continuity and plasticity; the cause of Organic Architecture. Thus began my education in architecture. I ate the book up, and its fraying pages today pay the price.

One aspect apparent to many students of architecture is the disparity between architects' writings and their buildings. After reading, digesting and savouring Frank's writings, it was some time before I saw his work (recall that this was in the days before the instant gratification provided by the net). I was not diappointed. Frank became my hero, and his principles and ideas became mine. I'm happy to say I have been on my knees ever since. :-)

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