Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Price Tower's Baby Daddy

perspective image: the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
plan image: Francis Ching

Frank Lloyd Wright started working in earnest on a rotated plan skyscraper in the late 1920's when he proposed a series of towers for St. Mark's in-the-Bouwerie in New York.

Rector William Norman Guthrie, who had hired Wright to design a home (unbuilt) for him in 1908 when he was teaching at the University of the South, was quite the client. Known for being an extremely unorthodox and flamboyant member of the Episcopal clergy, Guthrie saw an opportunity to return "beauty" to the church.

He once wrote Wright "to do anything at St. Marks meant to be an ecclesiastical outlaw."

The towers, intended to be erected for the purpose of generating income for the parish, were to be eighteen stories high springing out of a lush, park-like setting at ground level.

Notice the similarity of the St. Mark's plan to the Price Tower plan (in the previous post) composed a quarter of a century later.

Sadly, the St. Mark's project stopped when contractor's cost estimates came in - as Guthrie put it - as "terrible factual revelations."

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