A Long-Awaited Tribute: Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian House and Pavilion

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  • Frank Lloyd Wright and David Henken reviewing architectural drawings for the pavilion, 1953. Photo: © Pedro E. Guerrero
  • Parking lot next to the 1071 Fifth Avenue townhouse prior to construction, n.d. Building History collection. A0065. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Archives, New York
  • Crowds lined up outside the museum townhouse to see the exhibition. Exhibition records. A0003. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Archives, New York
  • “Usonian House of ’06 Awes Crowds at Wright’s Exhibit,” Metropolitan Builder, November 1953. Exhibition records. A0003. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Archives, New York
  • Film still from Wright Pavilion Construction, 1953. Films on the construction of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. A0005. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Archives, New York
  • Letter from James Johnson Sweeney to Frank Lloyd Wright, May 29, 1953. Copy in the Estate of James Johnson Sweeney collection. M0006. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Archives, New York
  • Sketch by Frank Lloyd Wright sent to James Johnson Sweeney, illustrating the pavilion and Usonian house, May 23, 1953. Copy in the Estate of James Johnson Sweeney collection. M0006. Drawing © Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Sketch by Frank Lloyd Wright sent to James Johnson Sweeney, illustrating the pavilion and Usonian house, May 23, 1953. Copy in the Estate of James Johnson Sweeney collection. M0006. Drawing © Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Frank Lloyd Wright, Sixty Years of Living Architecture Exhibition Building (demolished), New York. Perspective (presentation drawing), 1953. Graphite and ink on tracing paper, 91 x 196 cm. Drawing © 1988 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona
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On October 22, 1953, Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright opened in New York on the site where the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum would eventually be built. Two Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings were constructed specifically to house the exhibition: a temporary pavilion made of glass, fiberboard, and pipe columns; and a 1,700-square-foot, fully furnished, two-bedroom, model Usonian house representing Wright’s organic solution for modest, middle-class dwellings.

This presentation, composed of selected materials from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, pays homage to these two structures. Aware of his lack of architectural recognition in New York City prior to the 1953 exhibition, Wright declared: “this house and the pavilion alongside it . . . represent a long-awaited tribute: the first Wright building[s] erected in New York City.”¹


Flip through the original brochure and exhibition catalogue online. 


Download the archival press releases announcing the temporary buildings and exhibition:

 

1. Frank Lloyd Wright, The Usonian House: Souvenir of the Exhibition, 60 Years of Living Architecture, the Work of Frank Lloyd Wright (New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1953), p. 4.

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