Will Wiles

Glass House & Fallingwater

Architecture’s Odd Couple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson

By Hugh Howard

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Bracket any two figures together and the eye naturally hunts for similarities – and tends to find them. Still, there are some telling parallels between the American architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson. Both men lived into their nineties and never stopped talking, which makes them appealing subjects for biography. Both courted scandal, early failure and obscurity, but both also had a talent for reinvention that rescued them. And then, in the other column, there are the differences, not least aesthetic: Wright sought a homespun, naturalistic American idiom while Johnson was a zealous prophet of the icy wind from Europe, international modernism. Their relationship, the subject of this study by Hugh Howard, was destined to be antagonistic.

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