Wright and New York The Making of America’s Architect Anthony Alofsin

Publication date:
25 Jun 2019
Yale University Press
344 pages: 229 x 152mm
65 b-w illus.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) took his first major trip to New York in 1909, fleeing a failed marriage and artistic stagnation. He returned a decade later, his personal life and architectural career again in crisis. Booming 1920s New York served as a refuge, but it also challenged him and resurrected his career. New York connected Wright with important clients and commissions that would harness his creative energy and define his role in the future of modern architecture, even as the stock market crash took its toll on his benefactors.
Wright denounced New York as an “unlivable prison” while reveling in the city’s culture. The city became an urban foil for Wright’s work in the desert and in the “organic architecture” he promoted as an alternative to the modernist modes of American Art Deco and the International Style. New York became a major protagonist at the end of Wright’s life as he spent his final years at the Plaza Hotel working on the Guggenheim Museum, the building that would cement his legacy. At once a biography and a glittering portrait of early twentieth-century Manhattan, this volume provides a crucial new understanding of Wright’s life, his career, and the conditions that enabled his success.

Anthony Alofsin is Roland Roessner Centennial Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin and a fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

"Alofsin chronicles the relationship between America’s greatest architect and its greatest city with the precision of a detective, the perspective of a historian, and the flair of a novelist."—Thomas Mellins, author of New York 1930: Architecture and Urbanism Between the Two World Wars