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review: landscape

The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright

by Neil Levine. Princeton University Press, 1996. 524pp. £35 pbk

When this monumental study of Frank Lloyd Wright appeared in hardback, Richard Weston hailed it as 'a feast for eye and mind . . . deepening understanding on almost every page' (aj 4.7.96). Now in a paperback edition, a particular strength remains Levine's emphasis on landscape in his analysis of Wright's designs. His discussion of Taliesin West (above), which he compares to 'those large, remote, multi-building complexes' like Hadrian's Villa or Machu Picchu, is typical: 'Changes in level, angles of view, sightings of natural landmarks, a multiplicity of guideposts - all these factors become part of a journey that starts well before you arrive at the site . . . ' Integrating his description with a series of photographs, Levine takes us on that journey, both now and in 1938, as it would first have been perceived.

This landscape emphasis is, wrote Weston, timely: 'As the relationship between building and site, man and nature, is once again coming to the fore, Wright's importance can hardly be overstated.'

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