Monday, August 4, 2008

Romeo and Juliet Windmill

Romeo and Juliet Windmill sits atop a hill behind Hillside Home School, now the part of the Taliesin estate.

In the 1890's, when a young Frank Lloyd Wright was in the early years of his practice, his aunts had him design a windmill for pumping water to their progressive boarding school.

Wright's uncles argued that the aunts should order a prefabricated metal windmill from Sears Roebuck, but the aunts insisted that their creative nephew could build them something beautiful as well as functional.

So Wright designed Romeo and Juliet - two forms, the masculine and taller diamond plan element and the more demure, rounded shape (octagonal, actually) caressing each other. The two forms together provided resulted in a much stronger structure than either of the forms individually could.

That's organic architecture.

The uncles, until their deaths, would rush out on their porches when a thunderstorm came across the valley fully expecting the tower to crash down on itself. But it never did. It lasted almost a century until it was fully renovated in the 1990's.

The uncle's obviously did not understand the power of natural geometries.

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