Interview with Frank Lloyd Wright

Friday, June 06, 1952

The exact date of this episode is unknown. We've filled in the date above with a placeholder. What we actually have on record is: 1952-06-06 (ca.).

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Larry Lafer interviews Frank Lloyd Wright following his talk to students at the American Institute of Architects meeting at Convention Hall.

Wright is asked about his definition of an architect and his views about the future of architecture, he replies that "An architect is the pattern giver of a civilization; the form giver." He believes that architects are too educated and do not have enough experience, resulting in a superficial chasing after effects. He notes that he is afraid that the profession at the present time is at rather a low ebb. Lot of youth now entering profession so we can hope for quality over quantity; quantity can be modified by quality. Democracy can only survive with quality; quantity is
going to swamp quality if we don't look out. Democracy was never intended to be a mass production affair, it's based on individualism and protected by government. A free life is not necessarily a free-for-all. It's nothing someone gives you. A free life is something you work out for yourself. Freedom is not conferred, must be worked out from self. Great deal more spiritual than physical.

Wright describes his work "Content is not the word to use in connection with me. My work and living in accordance with certain beliefs; it's extremely satisfying and entertaining success and freedom can't be had on any other basis. Isn't freedom living and loving your work? The economic question is to be solved by the individual. Civilization is a way of life and culture is what you do to make that life beautiful and that's what architects try to do. Nothing is more rewarding.

Wright discusses the Solomon Gugenheim Museum, explaining "It is hard to describe an organic building," the museum was planned for 7 years to be built to help further the cause of non objective art; painting which is to the eye what music is to the ear and depends on no representation of objects. Discusses his belief that line and form and color are part of language and can be employed to provide great and beautiful effects. Wright speaks of Gugenheim, who left $8 million to have his work continue into the future

Wright goes on "Happiness is faith and belief in something....I think civilization where age becomes a disqualification has no where to go; production is the measure of things...they speak of man the animal, not the spiritual man."

Asked "Are cities here to stay?" Nothing is here to stay and I hope the city is not long to stay. All advantages become disadvantages. It's a time consuming, soul destroying incident in human life..I can see no benefit now for the pig piling which takes place now in the city.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 8449


Larry Lafer and Frank Lloyd Wright


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About Miscellaneous

Programs ranging from the 1930s to the 1970s covering a variety of cultural and political topics.

From archival broadcasts of sewer plant openings to single surviving episodes of long-defunct series, "Miscellaneous" is a catch-all for the odds and ends transferred as part of the New York Public Radio Archives Department's massive NEH-funded digitization project, launched in 2010.

Buried in this show you will find all sorts of treasures, from the 1937 dedication of the WNYC Greenpoint transmitter to the 1939 lighting of the City Hall Christmas tree and the 1964 reception for Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

This collection includes some unique “slice-of-life” productions that provide a telling portrait of America from the 1940s through the 1950s, such as public service announcements regarding everything from water conservation to traffic safety and juvenile delinquency and radio dramas such as "The Trouble Makers" and "Hate, Incorporated."



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