larkin building
larkin building
critical response
parallel movements
wright at the time
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larkin building: response

he lover of architecture who looks, perhaps for the first time, at a building so entirely removed from the traditional styles and schools feels a shock of surprise which is the reverse of pleasure. Few persons who have seen the great monuments of the past...(and) who have loved them...will fail to pronounce this monument an extremely ugly building. It is, in fact, a monster of awkwardness.

Russell Sturgess
The Architectural Record

“Reply to Mr. Sturgess Criticism,”
By Frank Lloyd Wright, 1908

It is quite clear that Mr. Sturgess would prefer the Larkin Building, as the lady thought she would the noble savage —“more dressed.”

To see an eminent architectural critic picking over, bit by bit, his architectural rag-bag for architectural finery wherewith to clothe the nakedness of the young giant whose very muscularity offends as it confronts him is pathetic...

larkin building It was built for the man who for the sake of the future gets underneath, and not for the man who, startled, clutches his lifeless traditions closer to his would-be-conservative breast and shrieks, “It is ugly!” It may be ugly, certainly it must so appear to some; but it is noble. It may lack playful light and shade, but it has strength and dignity and power. It may not be “Architecture,” but it has integrity, and its high character is a prophecy. The building is, frankly, “a group of bare, square edged, parallelopipedons, uncompromising in their geometrical precision, without delicate light and shade,” but fitted to one another organically and with aesthetic intent, and with utter contempt for the fetish so long worshiped that architecture consists in whittling their edges or in loading their surfaces with irrelevant sensualities or in frittering away their substance in behalf of the parasitic imagination of the slave of “styles.” It is a bold buccaneer, swaggering somewhat doubtless, yet acknowledging a native god in a native land with an ideal seemingly lost to modern life—conscious of the fact that because beauty is in itself the highest and finest kind of morality so in its essence must it be true.

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