Awestruck at Unpacking the Archive

He designed farms, bridges, desert get-aways, Native-American-inspired country clubs, houses built over waterfalls and, of course, the Guggenheim, which he wanted to paint pink. 

What a shame Frank Lloyd Wright died before making that happen though. 

Now until October 1st at the MoMA, you can dive deep into the influential architect’s work at the Unpacking the Archive exhibit. There you’ll see so many of the original sketches and models for noteworthy projects like the Guggenheim and Monona Terrace, as well as those unrealized, yet far out there and forward-thinking projects, like the Davidson Little Farms Unit, the Rosenwald Foundation School and the Nakoma Country Club. 

Peeking into Wright’s archive is an almost a sort of psychedelic experience. It’s a mind-bending trip into a brilliant man’s mind and a totally different ime. The colorful surreal sketches for glass doors and architectural details, the idealistic designs reflective of a certain idealism, even the fonts he wrote in made me think of a some Grateful Dead hippie aesthetic, not the craftwork of an architect working 40 years before the summer of love.

But that’s one really mind-blowing part about Wright and this exhibit. Frank Lloyd Wright was so ahead of his time…decades ahead of his time, that even today, his renderings of parking garages seem futuristic and full of possibility. The other amazing part: his incredible output. I realize he had a team helping him, but the number of designs, the level of detail is just staggering. 

Unpacking the Archive is an incredible look inside the work of an incredible man, who I’m very interested to learn more about. Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan of architecture, I highly recommend going it. It will leave you awestruck.