From the special vantage point of a former apprentice who for nine years lived and worked under "the fury and wrath of genius," Edgar Tafel presents a wonderfully revealing portrait of America's greatest architect. Unpredictable, cantankerous, a striking figure with white hair, cape and cane, Frank Lloyd Wright was an individualistic spirit who delighted in acting out his own myth. Here is an intimate view of the many moods of Wright the man, warts and all, the inspired teacher, and the creative visionary, by a devoted student who came to know him as few others have.
Now a successful architect in his own right, Tafel takes us back to 1932 and the early years of the Taliesin Fellowship when a group of promising young apprentices gathered in Spring Green, Wisconsin, to be near the 65-year-old master and work at his elbow. We are privy to the incredible richness and diversity of Wright's thinking, his passion for artistic truth and devotion to the cause of architecture, his unfailing creative surges, as well as to his eccentricities and fascinating details about life at Taliesin. We see genius at close range as he designs the most famous house of the twentieth century. Fallingwater, the magnificent Johnson Wax Building and Wingspread; as he ceaselessly tinkers with his designs, all the while proclaiming his organic theories of architecture; as he badgers, bullies, awes and inspires a generation of young architects.
Tafel's memoir provides us with a rare view of the man who considered his chief mission in life to create a genuinely American architecture and style of living, wholly personal and original. Here are illuminating anecdotes about his Prairie house and Oak Park periods, his disdain for the Bauhaus school and its leading practitioners, his total immersion in the design and construction of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, his romance with concrete, his efforts to develop the practical "Usonian homes," and much else. It is also an enlightening summary of the facts and forces which influenced the history of American architecture.
Written with affection and admiration, and enhanced with over 300 photographs−many never before published−Years with Frank Lloyd Wright offers an unusually candid portrait of the brilliant, eccentric genius who charted a new course for modern architecture.
Reprint of Apprentice to Genius: Years with Frank Lloyd Wright, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1979.