Sunday, January 22, 2017

Continuity, Patterns & Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright and Mason City (2016)
Jonathan Hale, The Old Way of Seeing. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1994, pp. 67-68—

As for resembling life forms [in architecture], it is underlying pattern, not any literal representation that makes a building "come alive." Trees, which populate the landscape much as buildings do, are much more generally considered to be beautiful. But, as Frank Lloyd Wright said, a building should be like a tree, not look like a tree…Trees and people contain the same kinds of patterns. Harmonious buildings that embody life forms refer to us, they are about us. That is why we are so attracted to them.

Harmony can be defined as the resonating play of shapes. It can be gentle or strong, but it is not immobility. The old way of seeing is not repose, and it is not prettiness. It might be soft or rough. It might be cheap…or it might be the Great Pyramid, but the same design principles will guide it. Harmony in a building means relationships that work with other relationships.…

One of the purposes of ornament is to pull the eye toward the regulating lines of a building, to point out the key visual points of its geometry. Ornament strengthens the forms that are already there. The powerful governing patterns of the buildings are not decorative, they are the architecture. They are inherent in the building, just as what the building does is inherent in it: this building is a house, and it also embodies this pattern. To be a pattern if one of the building's functions. In this way a building is like music.