This was the Future, Vol.14

typed for your pleasure on 21 July 2005, at 5.50 pm

Sdtrk: ‘There’s nothing’ by the Shout out louds

For this volume, this chapter, this segment, this episode, this instalment, of ‘This was the Future’, we go back further than the usual subjects from the Sixties, all the way to cover a building constructed in the late Thirties. This would be the Johnson Wax headquarters, which still stands in Racine, Wisconsin, and was designed by a then-69-year-old architect known as Frank Lloyd Wright.

The columned ‘great workroom’ is one of Wright’s most astonishing spaces, surrounded by the light bands in the brick enclosing walls and opened by a series of tubular glass skylights that fill in between the curved tops of the column petals (columns); as Wright said, ‘the effect is that of being among the pine trees, breathing fresh air and sunlight.

Apparently Wright, zany madman that he was, also designed the desks that you can kinda see in the pic above of the Great Workroom, and those are still in use today as well. Even the attached car park sports a similar mushroom-topped design. When you’ve got a theme that works, I say run with it..

Little aside here, if you’ll bear with me: regular readers of this site know that I’m fanatical about my Sixties architecture, and it could be technically argued that highlighting a F.L Wright building is incongruous with previous volumes, and I would partially agree. But one of the main reasons that I like the Johnson Wax building is because it resembles something from the Sixties, which is actually when I thought it was constructed when I first saw pictures of it. Plus, my view on Wright is a wee bit unconventional — I don’t want to say he’s overrated, as I really do like his work (e.g, the Turkel house, the Ennis-Brown house, Fallingwater), but there are many other ace architects out there that don’t get nearly half as much attention as he does. Besides, my structural preferences tend to lean towards grey concrete, glass and steel, anyway..

Join us next time, where representatives from the Frank Lloyd Wright Estate kidnap me, and have me publically flensed

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

This was the Future, Vol.17 on October 18th, 2005

This was the Future, Vol.33 on March 15th, 2007

7 have spoken to “This was the Future, Vol.14”

  1. es writes:

    thumbs up…

    but it’s leaky… johnson himself kept a waste basket in the midst of his desktop to catch the drips, but he cared not! (thinking it overall quite worth whatever troubles)…

    the ken burns doc was riveting… riveting!

  2. Davecat writes:

    Mr Johnson was probably all geeked cos Frank Lloyd Feckin’ Wright designed his building. Wright could’ve built it on an ancient Indian burial ground, and he probably wouldn’t have cared.

    ‘Oh yeah, the hauntings? Yeah, we’ve got hauntings, posessions, the whole kit and caboodle. My last secretary left cos she saw visions of the whole typing pool being turned inside out, or something. But HEY! Have you checked out the way light just streams from that ceiling??’

  3. PBShelley writes:

    How cool! Just last week I thought of mentiong Frank Lloyd Wright, but given your penchant for un-Wright-like bldgs and towering edifi, didn’t think it would go over 😉
    In Marin County, there is a FLW building that is (as all of his designs) very interesting. It’s been so long though that I can’t remember why, aside from the fact that it is a FLW bldg.

    Fab! 😉

  4. SafeTinspector writes:

    My wife and I went to New York for our honeymoon.
    The Gugenheim was closed for renovations.

  5. Davecat writes:

    Ahh, the Goog. I would love to visit that! It’s practically all one ramp, y’know.

    PBS –
    The thing that gets me is Wright designed a lot of buildings. I mean, a lot of buildings. From one site I saw, there’s at least ten in Michigan alone.

    Wright was prolific! You couldn’t stop him! Constantly building! Leave him alone for ten minutes, and he’d assemble some sort of uniquely-designed house from the ground up, using just his mind and his bare hands! 🙂
    Seriously, he built a lot more homes / business structures than I’d ever known. And good on him.

  6. SafeTinspector writes:

    He had a lot of interns, which boosted his productivity just a bit.

  7. quaisi writes:

    This is a really good idea for a series. Well done 🙂

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