Sunday, May 01, 2005

Walking in the woods with Mr. Wright

Last night Tegan and I took the girls to a couple that we are friends with. They have children almost identical to our own--two boys. We had some hamburgers, talked for a while and then decided to take a walk in their neighborhood to a local elementary school so the kids could play on the playground.

On the way home, the couple informed us that there are several paths through the woods that surround this school and that there is a small, secluded group of houses that were designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.


Ever since I went on a high school science trip to Pennsylvania (when I was 17) I have been a FLW fan. I have read some books, seen some documentaries. I am no scholar certainly, but I really like Wright's design style. It is distinctive, tied to nature, in-your-face.

When we were walking through the pathways between the houses I could tell immediately that these houses were inspired by Wright directly. One of them had the same cantilevered, flattened look as Fallingwater, the house I visited on the science trip in Pennsylvania--the house that introduced me to Wright's architecture. Other houses in the neighborhood has other distinctive touches--all glass corner windows, a careful effort to surround the houses by nature and make the house inhabit the woods rather than force the woods to surround the house.

I have visited another Wright house, the Dana-Thomas house in Springfield, Illinois. Tegan and I visited it while spending a weekend with an old college friend the first summer that we moved to Ohio. I have always wanted to go and see more Wright houses, which are scattered around the country. The most famous building of his, outside of Fallingwater must be the Guggenheim Museum in New York, which I have never seen.

I really enjoyed that small little trip into the woods of central Ohio, unexpectedly touched by Wright. I hear that the homes host a brief tour once a year, so I will definitely try to find out when that is and take advantage.


In other news, I can cross two more items off of my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. Say goodbye to #s 8 and 63.

1 comment:

Sven Golly said...

Very interesting to come across works by a genius of Wright's magnitude on a walk with friends and kids. A few years ago, just before starting to work at Humungous Publishing Co., a student of mine gave me the number of a friend of a friend who was looking for help with his garden. I called Joe Cooper, went over to meet him and his wife, Jane, and we had lunch in their Wright-inspired home in Rush Creek Village, a little pocket of architectural modernism on the edge of Olde Worthington. Long story short, we hit it off, and I helped Joe move mulch, cut back shrubs, transplant seedlings, and other grunt work in his amazing garden for a few weeks until full-time work intervened. Alas, there wasn't (isn't) enough time in a day or week to do both. But it was cool to meet the Coopers and hang out in the inhabited woods that are Rush Creek Village.

FYI, there's a Wright house in Oberlin, Ohio, that is open for tours.