The Gardens of Frank Lloyd Wright by Derek Fell
Derek Fell is a garden designer, photographer, and writer. His own garden in Pennsylvania has won several design awards.
The content of the book is expansive combining a thoughtful biography, an examination of Frank Lloyd Wright's development as an architect, identifying and explaining the influences on his style while focusing on his philosophy as a landscaper. It concentrates on Wright's four most famous residential landscapes: his first home in Oak Park, Illinois; Taliesin in Wisconsin; Taliesin West in Arizona; and Fallingwater, Pennsylvania.
The photography, also by Fell, is beautifully executed and supports the text.
"it is quite impossible to consider the building as one thing,
its furnishings as another and its setting another" Frank Lloyd Wright
The chapter on desert gardening was comprehensive and I appreciated the opportunity to learn about landscaping in an unfamiliar environment. Wright saw the use of desert natives as vital in making his winter home part of the desert. A chapter on prairie gardening was equally thorough. I was introduced to and intrigued by 'meeting stones" a feature of the work of Jens Jensen, who, in my opinion, Wright borrowed from shamelessly.
|photo credit: Derek Fell|
This is a well researched book and on the whole offers an honest portrait of Wright. If you are not aware of the seamier side of the man you may be surprised. If you read it let me know what you think of the bold claims, as to Wright's landscaping skills, offered by a completely besotted ex student.
I found the gardening perspective a fresh and entertaining way to learn about architecture and it's relationship to the environment. A relationship that sadly appears to be neglected by most mass market builders.
Based on my enjoyment of this book I plan to read other books in the series including the gardens of Monet, Renoir and the Impressionists.