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    Frank Lloyd Wright

    I came across an article the other day on the internet stating that some of Wright's houses are still un-saleable even though others are worth a fortune. That reminded me of the little Gale House in Chicago built previous to 1910, which I saw personally in 1958; it was getting rundown then. Does anyone know if it is for sale or what its condition is now?

    I would be glad to discuss any other matters I can about FLW and/or my Taliesin experience and beyond on this thread.

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bud
    I came across an article the other day on the internet stating that some of Wright's houses are still un-saleable even though others are worth a fortune. That reminded me of the little Gale House in Chicago built previous to 1910, which I saw personally in 1958; it was getting rundown then. Does anyone know if it is for sale or what its condition is now?

    I would be glad to discuss any other matters I can about FLW and/or my Taliesin experience and beyond on this thread.
    Well, the current owners of the Heurtley house have it for sale for about the last 6 months. It was originally for $5 million, but has been reduced to $4.9 million. It still is sitting. Will probably require a FLW devotee with lots of cash to buy it. For that money you could get an equally sized house with Lake Michigan frontage in Lake Forest, IL.

    As for the Gale House it appears to have sold (at least not on the active market). It was rehabbed recently and was for sale for about $1.2 million.

    Btw, I live in Oak Park and the Gale house is actually in Oak Park, not in the City of Chicago.
    Last edited by mendelman; 03 Aug 2006 at 9:21 AM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

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    Gale House

    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    As for the Gale House it appears to have sold (at least not on the active market). It was rehabbed recently and was for sale for about $1.2 million. ... Btw, I live in Oak Park and the Gale house is actually in Oak Park, not in the City of Chicago .
    I was not aware of the Thomas H. Gale House (1892) you link to and it does not look like anything Wright ever did even that early in his career.

    This is the one I had in mind:
    Mrs. Thomas Gale House
    Oak Park 1904

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bud
    I was not aware of the Thomas H. Gale House (1892) you link to and it does not look like anything Wright ever did even that early in his career.
    Lots of his early (1890s) houses have that 'transitional' look (half Victorian, half proto-Prairie)
    Quote Originally posted by bud
    This is the one I had in mind:
    Mrs. Thomas Gale House
    Oak Park 1904
    Yeah, that one is, seemingly, in good condition on the nice curvy Elizabeth Court (the only 'curved' street in the orthogonal street grid).
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

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    List of Houses

    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Lots of his early (1890s) houses have that 'transitional' look (half Victorian, half proto-Prairie)

    Yeah, that one is, seemingly, in good condition on the nice curvy Elizabeth Court (the only 'curved' street in the orthogonal street grid).
    I see it is on this list but it is not something he would want to take credit for, I am sure. I still question that he did it.
    List of FLW Houses

    Here is another list I have found:
    List of FLW Houses

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bud
    I see it is on this list but it is not something he would want to take credit for, I am sure. I still question that he did it.
    List of FLW Houses
    Well...a young struggling architect won't be able to get every client to agree with wildly new and unique designs. FLW would have had to compromise by adding some Victorian elements (Queen Anne bays, hipped roofs, shingling, etc.) in order to get cleints and establish a reputation.

    Remember...his own house started as a fairly typical shingled Cape-style 1-1/2 story house. As he became more experienced and financially able, he started the drastic alterations.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

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    Cyburbian Howard Roark's avatar
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    There is a FLW house down the street from my parents, which I had no idea was there until after I graduated Arch-y school.

    http://www.ebsworthpark.org/

    It has been restored through a collaboration between local patrons (a lot of AIA help) and the St. Louis County Parks Dept. Though I am not a fan of the Usonion houses it turned out really nice, and is open to anyone by appointment.

    There are several other FLW houses around town, the most impressive is still being used as a residence shrouded by a large hedge and …ahem… the owners don’t appreciate awkward young architects peeking at it, as I can speak from experience.
    She has been a bad girl, she is like a chemical, though you try and stop it she is like a narcotic.

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    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bud
    I came across an article the other day on the internet stating that some of Wright's houses are still un-saleable even though others are worth a fortune. That reminded me of the little Gale House in Chicago built previous to 1910, which I saw personally in 1958; it was getting rundown then. Does anyone know if it is for sale or what its condition is now?

    I would be glad to discuss any other matters I can about FLW and/or my Taliesin experience and beyond on this thread.
    Bud, I wonder if you'd be interested in this website: http://www.savewright.org/ Be sure to check out the section, titled "Wright on the Market" to see all the FLW projects that are currently in the market.

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    Ethics

    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Well...a young struggling architect won't be able to get every client to agree with wildly new and unique designs. FLW would have had to compromise by adding some Victorian elements (Queen Anne bays, hipped roofs, shingling, etc.) in order to get cleints and establish a reputation.
    That is unethical. One should not go into Architecture to get a living; as in any of the other learned professions. Wright was exemplary of that in his practice along with Sullivan who reinforced it in him but he learned Architecture at home from his Mother who was a teacher; he lived and worked to please her until she died in the 1920’s when Sullivan also passed away. That ideal was portrayed in The Fountain Head which was showing when I was in High School and College. The ethic is practically unenforceable but to ignore it will num the psyche, dumb down the intellect or drive one to drink if one has any conscience in the matter. FLW called such competitors, “inebriate criminals” (see The Natural House). Wright said it would be better to dig ditches for a living than to pros titute your self in Architecture. On Ethics see The Future of Architecture, Lectures at the Chicago Art Institute, "Advice to the young man in Architecture".

    I imagine the house you showed was her home before the one by FLW.


    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Remember...his own house started as a fairly typical shingled Cape-style 1-1/2 story house. As he became more experienced and financially able, he started the drastic alterations
    He got that from or designed a house like that for Sullivan who had a shingle sided house on the Gulf Coast. There is nothing unethical about using the materials and technology most suitable and available.
    Last edited by bud; 04 Aug 2006 at 11:22 AM. Reason: Elucidate

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bud
    That is unethical.
    It's only 'unethical' for the philosophically stubborn. How is trying to establish oneself, through momentary compromise, 'unethical'? Is it also unethical to make a living to feed oneself?

    Plus, FLW wasn't the most 'ethical' in his personal life either. Not denying his professional achievements.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by bud
    That is unethical. One should not go into Architecture to get a living; as in any of the other learned professions. Wright was exemplary of that in his practice along with Sullivan who reinforced it in him but he learned Architecture at home from his Mother who was a teacher; he lived and worked to please her until she died in the 1920’s when Sullivan also passed away. That ideal was portrayed in The Fountain Head which was showing when I was in High School and College. The ethic is practically unenforceable but to ignore it will num the psyche, dumb down the intellect or drive one to drink if one has any conscience in the matter. FLW called such competitors, “inebriate criminals” (see The Natural House). Wright said it would be better to dig ditches for a living than to pros titute your self in Architecture.
    And that's why architecture today is so screwed up. Thousands of average architects thinking they can be like Frank Lloyd Wright.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I recall several years ago there used to be a Web site that featured only FLW and Usonian homes for sale. I can't remember the URL, though, and I don't know if it's still around. From what I reall, this was before the real estate bobble, and many of the Usonian houses seemed quite affordable by today's standards. (Hard to believe that just six or seven years ago, we once considered a $200K house as incredibly expensive.)

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    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    I recall several years ago there used to be a Web site that featured only FLW and Usonian homes for sale. I can't remember the URL, though, and I don't know if it's still around. From what I reall, this was before the real estate bobble, and many of the Usonian houses seemed quite affordable by today's standards. (Hard to believe that just six or seven years ago, we once considered a $200K house as incredibly expensive.)
    Dan, are you thinking of this website: http://www.savewright.org/ ?

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    Cyburbian Howard Roark's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bud
    That is unethical. One should not go into Architecture to get a living; as in any of the other learned professions. Wright was exemplary of that in his practice along with Sullivan who reinforced it in him but he learned Architecture at home from his Mother who was a teacher; he lived and worked to please her until she died in the 1920’s when Sullivan also passed away. That ideal was portrayed in The Fountain Head which was showing when I was in High School and College. The ethic is practically unenforceable but to ignore it will num the psyche, dumb down the intellect or drive one to drink if one has any conscience in the matter. FLW called such competitors, “inebriate criminals” (see The Natural House). Wright said it would be better to dig ditches for a living than to pros titute your self in Architecture. On Ethics see The Future of Architecture, Lectures at the Chicago Art Institute, "Advice to the young man in Architecture".

    The above statement is a stunning example of what is wrong with architecture. It is the belief in the profession as a higher art form that has made us arrogant in the eyes of the public and helpless to the whims of the developers (you love this profession so your fees should be less) Of course in an economic system based on power being in capital or influence, rigid stylistic dogma loses. Nobody cares if you think you found truth and there is no scale to measure if you have anyway.

    Wright was a good designer with some good ideas (organic forms) and bad ideas (Broad Acre City) He was not the end all of our profession, though he casts an oversized shadow not so much the way we work (only a few architects would be able to take his attitude and put food on the table) But the perception and mischaracterization of the profession.

    Unethical would be knowingly violating the client architect dynamic is the cause for some self grangerized vision of truth in beauty or style. You don’t get a better environment by undercutting the foundations of what we do in the name of style. I won’t go into the specifics how you can interpret the wishes of a client and still maintain a good sense of fitting design, but if you are in the profession and practiced you should understand those fundamentals by now.
    She has been a bad girl, she is like a chemical, though you try and stop it she is like a narcotic.

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    Multiple replies


    Usonia

    Quote Originally posted by Howard Roark

    http://www.ebsworthpark.org/
    ...It has been restored through a collaboration between local patrons (a lot of AIA help) and the St. Louis County Parks Dept. Though I am not a fan of the Usonion houses it turned out really nice...
    .
    Usonia was Wright's name for the United States of America, the only country without a name. He said he got the idea from reading Erewhon by Samuel Butler. He decided to do 40 small low priced homes like that as a matter of professional responsibility; since most architects will not do them - preferring the more lucrative commercial or industrial clientele. Nor would he would raise or lower his 10% commission as a matter of principle. Residential architects charge up to 20% and commercial architects charge as low as 6%.

    Wright was much better trained as an architect than usual, so was well prepared to deal with the task he undertook to change the landscape from the predominance of a hodgepodge of Greek and Roman or Persian or whatever to a modern machine age architecture.

    Quote Originally posted by Hceux
    bud, I wonder if you'd be interested in this website: http://www.savewright.org/ Be sure to check out the section, titled "Wright on the Market" to see all the FLW projects that are currently in the market.
    I am familiar with that site and was in on the discussion group before it was closed. I wasn’t looking for un-saleable houses at that time.


    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    It's only 'unethical' for the philosophically stubborn. How is trying to establish oneself, through momentary compromise, 'unethical'? Is it also unethical to make a living to feed oneself?
    Plus, FLW wasn't the most 'ethical' in his personal life either. Not denying his professional achievements.
    Professional ethics were not the same then as now, apparently.


    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    And that's why architecture today is so screwed up. Thousands of average architects thinking they can be like Frank Lloyd Wright.
    Why would that screw things up, and how? In 1951 when I entered college Wright was at the top of the profession and the profession of architecture was the most highly esteemed of all all professions in the public view. Now it is the least esteemed of all professions. Is that my fault - who knows?


    To be continued...

    I hope to get around to responding to everyone as soon as possible.
    Last edited by bud; 07 Aug 2006 at 11:09 AM.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally posted by bud
    Why would that screw things up, and how? In 1951 when I entered college Wright was at the top of the profession and the profession of architecture was the most highly esteemed of all all professions in the public view. Now it is the least esteemed of all professions. Is that my fault - who knows?
    1951 is (more or less) the year Bauhaus invaded America, followed by all its bastard children.

    This is not a coincidence.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Howard Roark's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bud

    Usonia



    Usonia was Wright's name for the United States of America, the only country without a name. He said he got the idea from reading Erewhon by Samuel Butler. He decided to do 40 small low priced homes like that as a matter of professional responsibility; since most architects will not do them - preferring the more lucrative commercial or industrial clientele. Nor would he would raise or lower his 10% commission as a matter of principle. Residential architects charge up to 20% and commercial architects charge as low as 6%.

    A handful of american architects get away with 20% and your "low" of 6% is actually a pretty good fee. Try 3% or 5% for most commercail and 4% for developer housing. Don't even ask about urban design, it is like getting blood from a rock






    Why would that screw things up, and how? In 1951 when I entered college Wright was at the top of the profession and the profession of architecture was the most highly esteemed of all all professions in the public view. Now it is the least esteemed of all professions. Is that my fault - who knows?
    I thnk the general public holds us in higher esteem then lawyers, except for Jaws, he hates me, because I am hell bent on destroying earth Muahahahahahahaha.
    Last edited by Planderella; 08 Aug 2006 at 9:08 AM. Reason: Quote tags fixed
    She has been a bad girl, she is like a chemical, though you try and stop it she is like a narcotic.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by Howard Roark
    I thnk the general public holds us in higher esteem then lawyers, except for Jaws, he hates me, because I am hell bent on destroying earth Muahahahahahahaha.
    Lawyers are the scum of the earth. Saying that you are more esteemed than lawyers is like saying cancer is preferable to malaria.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    Lawyers are the scum of the earth.....
    Off-topic:
    If you're ever falsely accused, call an architect. They will surely get you out of trouble.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    OK folks lets get it back on topic before one of us evil Mods has to step in
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

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    Multi -replies

    Usonian houses

    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    …From what I reall, this was before the real estate bobble, and many of the Usonian houses seemed quite affordable by today's standards. (Hard to believe that just six or seven years ago, we once considered a $200K house as incredibly expensive.)
    There was a piece (rerun?) on CBS, “60 Minutes” this Sunday showing how the average size Large home had increased from a previous 4 - 5K SF to 8 – 12K SF. When I began in the early 1950’s the cost/SF was $8. The small (1000 SF) Usonian houses were built in the 1940’s for 4 – 5K each at a time when FLW would normally only do a $100K house. The cost of construction is now between $50 and $100 per square foot now for a moderately priced house.


    What if?


    Originally posted by bud
    …One should not go into Architecture to get a living; as in any of the other learned professions. …ideal was portrayed in The Fountain Head… The ethic is practically unenforceable but to ignore it will numb the psyche, dumb down the intellect or drive one to drink if one has any conscience in the matter. …Wright said it would be better to dig ditches for a living than to pros titute your self as an Architect.

    Quote Originally posted by Howard Roark
    The above statement is a stunning example of what is wrong with architecture. It is the belief in the profession as a higher art form that has made us arrogant in the eyes of the public and helpless to the whims of the developers (you love this profession so your fees should be less) Of course in an economic system based on power being in capital or influence, rigid stylistic dogma loses. Nobody cares if you think you found truth and there is no scale to measure if you have anyway.
    What if everyone in the profession lived and worked up to professional standards? The failure to do so is grounds for revocation of the State license to practice but, who cares? I do, for one. Jane Jacobs was, for another according to her last book, Dark Age Ahead, (self-policing by the learned professions) .

    The fictional architect in The Fountain Head, Howard Roark, did, too. Do you recall what he did while waiting in his office for a client and for a living when he had no clients? And how he refused to put a Roman or Greek facade on his building at the loss of a commission? I can vouch for the fact that it can be done and that one will be a lot happier and productive for having done so. All together (as in a boycott) we should have greater leverage in the marketplace due to a greater respect for the profession in the eyes of the general public.

    That FLW maintained those standards so well is why he kept in touch with the Spirit of the Art and why he is now, if not early in his life, heroically esteemed and his work universally admired.



    The Bauhaus

    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    1951 is (more or less) the year Bauhaus invaded America, followed by all its ________ children. This is not a coincidence.
    That was Gropius’ arrival at Harvard and its what children? Are you referring to Philip Johnson?

    Wright greatly resented that and Gropius but he did often try to befriend PJ.



    Professional esteem

    Originally posted by bud
    Why would that screw things up, and how? In 1951 when I entered college Wright was at the top of the profession and the profession of architecture was the most highly esteemed of all all professions in the public view. Now it is the least esteemed of all professions. Is that my fault - who knows?


    Quote Originally posted by Howard Roark
    I thnk the general public holds us in higher esteem then lawyers...
    I was giving the result of a poll I heard about a year ago. I am not sure what the source was other than that it was in a radio newscast. What is the source of your opinion, if not wishful thinking?
    Last edited by bud; 08 Aug 2006 at 1:53 PM.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I've always been interested in how Taliesen was based on a Gurdjieff-model teaching house (presumably due to Olgivanna's influences). I understand the students performed all the work on premises - gardening, cooking, washing etc..
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Gurdjieff

    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    I've always been interested in how Taliesen was based on a Gurdjieff-model teaching house (presumably due to Olgivanna's influences). I understand the students performed all the work on premises - gardening, cooking, washing etc...
    Olgivanna, who was from Montenegro was a student of Gurdjieff as a young woman. Her book, The Conscious Struggle was based on Gurdjieff's teaching. It was about how to think objectively. It was given to me to read while I was there by an older apprentice who had befriended me. I suppose that reinforced what I had learned about objectivism unconsciously from seeing The Fountain Head movie in high school and again in college although I was not all that aware of such matters as Objectivism then. It has worked well for me throughout my life since then.

    They say the school was her idea, but since FLW’s Mother was a teacher that must have had something to do with the end result; since she had died just before he met Olgivanna there was in my view probably a transference of his devotion from one to the other. So things worked out well at least until the end of FLW which I saw coming during my stay. There was some conflict in expectations it seemed between her devotion to Gurdjieff and Wright and probably between his devotion to his Mother and her. They were anticipating his demise and perhaps trying to hasten it - fearing that he might change his mind about his Will leaving her everything. Anyone or anything that was perceived to be a threat to her security was quickly eliminated. She had a dom inating personality that may have influenced his work and compromised his earlier devotion to the Cause of Architecture that had been instilled in him by his Mother and Louis Sullivan.

    We did all the chores necessary to our comfort and survival on top the tuition we paid. In the 14 months I was there - this may have been a way of teaching us how to work and make a living doing menial work possibly anticipating the times in our future career when we might have no clients. I think I got my money’s worth and much more.
    Last edited by bud; 08 Aug 2006 at 1:48 PM.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bud
    What if?


    Originally posted by bud
    …One should not go into Architecture to get a living; as in any of the other learned professions. …ideal was portrayed in The Fountain Head… The ethic is practically unenforceable but to ignore it will numb the psyche, dumb down the intellect or drive one to drink if one has any conscience in the matter. …Wright said it would be better to dig ditches for a living than to pros titute your self as an Architect.



    What if everyone in the profession lived and worked up to professional standards? The failure to do so is grounds for revocation of the State license to practice but, who cares? I do, for one. Jane Jacobs was, for another according to her last book, Dark Age Ahead, (self-policing by the learned professions) .

    The fictional architect in The Fountain Head, Howard Roark, did, too. Do you recall what he did while waiting in his office for a client and for a living when he had no clients? And how he refused to put a Roman or Greek facade on his building at the loss of a commission? I can vouch for the fact that it can be done and that one will be a lot happier and productive for having done so. All together (as in a boycott) we should have greater leverage in the marketplace due to a greater respect for the profession in the eyes of the general public.

    That FLW maintained those standards so well is why he kept in touch with the Spirit of the Art and why he is now, if not early in his life, heroically esteemed and his work universally admired.
    What would the standards be? If an architect embraces an architecture that you disdain, would you kick them out of your little club?

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    Professional Standards

    Quote:
    Originally posted by bud
    …One should not go into Architecture to get a living; as in any of the other learned professions. …Wright said it would be better to dig ditches for a living than to pros titute your self as an Architect.

    What if everyone in the profession lived and worked up to professional standards? The failure to do so is grounds for revocation of the State license to practice...

    FLW maintained those standards...


    Quote Originally posted by iamme
    What would the standards be? If an architect embraces an architecture that you disdain, would you kick them out of your little club?
    Well, the standards are set by the AIA, The American Institute of Architects - Frank Lloyd Wright never joined the AIA because he noticed early in his career that they did not live up to their own standards (it was only window dressing); State Registration laws came latter with the same effect, having the same cause. He pointed that out to them in his AIA Gold Medal Acceptance Speech in 1949. Other learned professions have similar standards; one is that they may not solicit for clients (that does not preclude discreet or institutional advertisement, such as hanging out a shingle). Furthermore when you apply for Registration for a License to practice they send you a little booklet which tells you about Professional Responsibility and Ethical Standards that must be followed. I just believe we do well just to try and to admit it when we fail.

    So, you see they are not my standards nor is it my club. Usually, one who maintains the Standards or goes by the Law has to go it pretty much alone; this can make them a target of jealous indignation from those who may be embarrassed by the exposure of their own dishonesty and shortcomings. Certainly FLW endured the wrath and scorn of his colleagues as you will find if you read his Autobiography or his Testament or most any other of his writings and speeches.

    I apologize if I have offended anyone - my comments are not to be taken personally. Try to be objective.

    Has anyone read the book, Dark Age Ahead in which Jane Jacobs writes about this problem? (Rhetorical question). It is no joking matter.
    Last edited by bud; 09 Aug 2006 at 1:19 PM.

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