Curbed National : Frank Lloyd Wright, One Tough Architecture Critic

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Australian architect John Andrews’s proposed design for Toronto’s City Hall, one of eight finalists selected for a design competition held in 1958. Frank Lloyd Wright said it “falls into the utterly fantastic and inutile.”

Frank Lloyd Wright was a man of strong opinions and stronger words. And he often saved some of his strongest for when he was discussing or debating architecture and his fellow architects. Take the 1958 competition to design the Toronto City Hall, which eventually led to the selection of Finnish modernist Viljo Revell’s striking plan (evidently, in a case of architectural deja vu, Revell’s design was passed on by the judges, only to be rescued from the reject pile by Eero Saarinen, the exact same thing that happend to Jorn Utzon’s design for the Sydney Opera House). The Toronto Starrecently published archival photos of the submissions from the seven finalists who didn’t make the cut, and included feedback from Frank Lloyd Wright, which the paper published in 1958, and the paper’s current architecture critic, Christopher Hume. Wright doesn’t mince words; his responses vary from questioning (“Why jack the box up so high? What’s he afraid of — a flood?”) to unflattering comparisons (“a radiator front jacked up for some peculiar reason on top of a building”), quickly and succinctly getting to the point.

Wright’s take on some of the submissions >>

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