" EARLY IN LIFE ," said the greatest of American Architects , " I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility .I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasion to change ."
Frank Lloyd Wright died in 1959 , at the age of ninety-one .During the seven decades of his innovative career ,Wright developed a " Prairie style " in the design of buildings with long, low horizontal lines and open interiors .
In his autobiography , he wrote ," No house should be on any hill or on anything .It should be of the hill ,belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other." This central concern of Wright's work was expressed in the title of his 1939 book ,An organic Architecture .
In 1938 , he addressed a meeting of the Association of Federal Architects. Speaking in the nation's capital , he discussed organic architecture as a field outside of governmental regulation ,and added to his reputation for being irascibly opinionated.
In the speech ,he derogates America's cultural heritage and doubts the effectiveness of government in advancing American architecture .In addition to the repition of "now" to introduce his ideas ,Wright uses rhetorical question and the unforgettable illustration of "the floo floo bird " to construct his argument .
The cultural influences in our country are like the floo floo bird .I am referring to the peculiar and especial bird who always flew backwards .To keep the wind out of its eyes ? No .just because it didn't give a darn where it was going , but just had to see where it had been . Now ,in floo floo bird you have the true symbol of our government architecture -too ,and in consequence ,how discredited American culture stands in the present time.All the world knows it to be funny except American .What prevented us and still prevents us from knowing it ? Armchair education ,let's say .
Now ,all this has parallels in history .The Romans were just as incognizant as we of the things of the spirit .They ,too, has no culture of their own. England had none of her own ,and we,having none,got what we have as a substitute second ,third,or fourth hand from them all .Romans culture ,for instance ,was greek. The Romans however,did have great engineers ( you have all heard of the arch),but what did the Romans do with their greatest invention - THE ARCH ? you know well enough that for centuries they wasted it by pasting a travesty of greek trabeation over it to conceal the truth of structure , until finally ,some vulgar Roman ,more "uncultured" than the rest ,one day got up nd said ,"Hell ! take it all away ! What's the matter with arch ?It's a genuine ,beautifull ,and noble thing "; and finally they got it ,got the common arch as indigenous architecture .
We,the modern Romans, probably are going to get architecture something like that same way . We are going to have a true architecture of glass,steel,and the forms that gratify our new sense of space.We are going to have it . No colonial Eden is able ,long,to say us nay .
Culture ,given time ,will catch up and assert itself in spite of reaction. This thing which we call America ,as I have said ,goes around the world today .It is chiefly spirit but that spirit is reality .Not by way of government can we find encouragement of any help .No ,we can have nothing by way of official government until the thing is atleast ten years in past .
What can government do with an advanced idea? If it is still a controversial idea ,and any good idea must be so ,can government touch it without its eye on at least next election ? It cannot .I know of nothing more silly than to expect "government" to solve our advanced problems for us .If we have no ideas,how can government have any ?