Rand and Wright

Titan's picture
Submitted by Titan on Fri, 2006-01-06 06:06

How long did Ayn Rand work for Frank Lloyd Wright?-and what kind of work did she do for him, exactly?


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other architects of note

itheliving78's picture

a few of my favorites you might enjoy researching:

Alfredo De Vido
Richard Neutra
Fredrick Crawford Gibson (an objectivist architect)
Mies Van der Rohe (the man!)
Marcel Breuer

Thanks for the info. James!

Titan's picture

Thanks for the info. James!

No Contradiction, Then

James S. Valliant's picture

Thanks for the correction... if that's what it was. But your original "nothing" was an overstatement, no?

Answers p. 190 quotes Rand

Reidy's picture

Answers p. 190 quotes Rand as having said in 1974, "Some of [Roark's] architectural ideas were [based on Wright], as was the pattern of his career." (emphasis in original).

In answer to a fan letter in 1950 (Letters, p. 468) she says "The only parallel which may be drawn between them is purely architectural - that is, in regard to their stand on modern architecture. The following year (p. 492) she wrote "You may be justified in seeing some parallel between Howard Roark and Frank Lloyd Wright only in a strictly architectural sense, that is, in the sense that both are great fighters for modern architecture."

The later statement is not a hard reversal of her earlier ones; it may not be a change at all, but it strikes me as a more specific acknowledgement than the vague, generalized one in her earlier letters. In any case, the presence of particular points of Wright's architectural esthetic in the novel is clear from a reading of it alongside the pertinent texts from Wright. For a little more detail than this, see http://www.objectivistcenter.o....

"May I ask one thing,

Landon Erp's picture

"May I ask one thing, though: I recall her saying that Roark's life was not in any way inspired by Wright's, but where did she say that there was no connection of any kind between their approaches to architecture?"

As I recall, that's the only part she would admit to. She said Roark was in no way reflective of Wright except in that particular respect.

---Landon

It all basically comes back to fight or flight.

Thank You

James S. Valliant's picture

Thank you for the correction. Their first brief "hello" was before Rand had even written the book! The second was a conversation of about an hour -- from which she was impressed by Wright's sincerity. Wright did refuse her request to be interviewed for the book.

May I ask one thing, though: I recall her saying that Roark's life was not in any way inspired by Wright's, but where did she say that there was no connection of any kind between their approaches to architecture?

According to their letters

Reidy's picture

According to their letters and Barbara Branden's biography, they first met at length at his son's in 1944, before Wright Sr. had read the novel. They also met briefly in New York in 1937.

Since so many of us are talking about the Answers and some are finding softenings of Rand's earlier positions, I notice that at one point she says Wright's architectural ideas are in The Fountainhead. This is a step back from her earlier claim that, while she admired his buildings, nothing of him shows up in the book.

She Did Not

James S. Valliant's picture

She never worked for Wright. She did work in the office of another architect, Ely Jacques Kahn, doing office work, in order to research The Fountainhead. She was an admirer of Wrght's work, but could not secure a meeting with him until Wright read The Fountainhead. After this, he became an admirer of Rand's work. He wrote her a letter of praise for the novel and invited her to Taliesen. He even designed a house for Rand which was never built. (Very expensive.)

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