Throughout its 113-year history, Architectural Record has invited leading practitioners of the arts to submit their thoughts on the state of architecture. In the Cause of Architecture revives these documents, which are important not just as celebrity essays, but as time capsules of the development of architecture in the late 19th and the 20th Centuries.

This Month's Articles:


The Barnsdall Residence, Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect.


In 1966 an editor at ARCHITECTURAL RECORD named Emerson Cole wrote a brief, but fairly thorough history of the first 75 years of the magazine. In it he observed that there was a "quality of perspicacity" in the early years of the magazine that "led to many 'firsts.'

"Perhaps the most notable ['first'] is the early recognition of Frank Lloyd Wright. It is generally believed that his first mention was in the ARCHITECTURAL RECORD for 1908, but in April 1904 a commentator named Arthur C. David* had this to say, referring to the new stylistic manifestations of the Chicago spirit: 'It really derives its momentum and inspiration chiefly from the work of Mr. Louis Sullivan, and from a very able architect, who issued from Mr. Sullivan’s office, Mr. Frank Wright'

"The writer went on to remark that it was all too young to have a history, "and probably 10 years must pass before any very intelligent estimate can be placed upon its value." Well, if 10 years didn’t prove them right, 62 years certainly have."

Later in the article, Cole has this to say about Wright's unique relationship to the magazine:

"More important, of course, are the "firsts" in recognition of architectural breakthroughs or individual initiative. Louis Sullivan, "Frank Wright," and the "Chicago spirit" have already been mentioned. In 1904 this combination was way in advance of the times. FLW was recognized in Europe after that, and not really accepted in America until much later. In 1908 he wrote a famous article for ARCHITECTURAL RECORD, 'In the Cause of Architecture,' March 1908—December 1928.

"Perhaps it could be considered a "first" when Dr. Mikkelsen re-activated Wright in the twenties. Wright had been through all manner of vicissitudes, was dejected and idle. Mikkelsen made a deal for him to write a series of articles for the RECORD, for a fabulous price, and Wright took new encouragement, got new recognition, and took off again for new victories. In fact he took off so fast that he never wrote the final article; he took great pleasure in his later years in reminding us that he still owed us the summary piece of his famous series."

In the articles he wrote for Architectural Record, Wright had no qualms about promoting himself. In decidedly Whitmanesque language, he essentially extolled the virtues of his personal vision of "organic growth," while almost exclusively drawing upon examples of his own work. Wright authored the following 17 articles over a period of four decades:

• In the Cause of Architecture, March 1908
• In the Cause of Architecture, May 1914
• In the Cause of Architecture:
     I. The Architect and the Machine, May 1927
     II. Standardization, The Soul of the Machine, May 1927
     III. Steel, August 1927
     IV. The Architect and the Machine, May 1927
     V. The New World, October 1927
•  In the Cause of Architecture:
     I. The Logic of the Plan, January 1928
     II. What "Styles" Mean to the Architect, February 1928
          HTML version
     III. The Meaning of Materials—Stone, April 1928
     IV. The Meaning of Materials—Wood, April 1928
     V. The Meaning of Materials—The Kiln, April 1928
     VI. The Meaning of Materials—Glass, April 1928
     VII. Sheet Metal and the Modern Instance, April 1928
     VIII. The Meaning of Materials—The Terms, April 1928
     IX. The Meaning of Materials—Stone, April 1928
• Organic Architecture Looks at Modern Architecture, May 1952

This month we present the Frank Lloyd Wright article from February 1928 in HTML or as a PDF [2MB]. As a bonus you will find a PDF version of an article by A.N. Rebori entitled "Frank Lloyd Wright's Textile-Block Slab Construction" that appeared at year's end in 1927.

*Arthur C. David was a pseudonym for Herbert Croly.



Past articles:

Lessons of the Chicago World's Fair: an interview with the late Daniel H. Burnham, January 1913 - HTML version | PDF [1.5 M].

Our Four Big Bridges, by Montgomery Schuyler, March 1909 - HTML version | PDF [1.5 M].

Three-part article: "Landscape Design in the Primeval Environment."

III.  Landscape Design in the Primeval Environment, By Garret Eckbo, Daniel U. Kiley & James C. Rose, February 1940 - HTML version | PDF [1.9 M].

II.  Landscape Design in the Rural Environment, By Garret Eckbo, Daniel U. Kiley & James C. Rose, August 1939 - HTML version | PDF [1.7 M].

I.  Landscape Design in the Urban Environment, By Garret Eckbo, Daniel U. Kiley & James C. Rose, May 1939 - HTML version | PDF [2 M].

Architectural Polychomy, by Leon V. Solon, 1922

Part I: The Conditions which Control the Introduction of Color
January 1922 -
HTML version | PDF [1 M].
Part II: Defining the Species of Artistic Impulse which Should Actuate the Condition of Color Effect in Architecture
February 1922 - HTML version | PDF [1.1 M].
Part III: The Technique of Color Effect--Structural Materials Available
March 1922 - HTML version | PDF [1.2 M].
Part IV: The Technique of Architectural Polychromy,
April 1922 - HTML version | PDF [976 K].
Part V: The Color Treatment of the Capital, Cornice and Other Architectural Items, May 1922. - HTML version | PDF [1.2 M].
Part VI: Polychrome Treatment of Architectural Sculpture
June 1922. - HTML version | PDF [1.3 M].

Mass-Production and the Modern House [Part II], By Lewis Mumford, February 1930 - HTML version | PDF [736K].

Mass-Production and the Modern House [Part I], By Lewis Mumford, January 1930 - HTML version | PDF [1.1M].

The Soviet Architecture Purge, By Peter Blake, September 1949 -
HTML version | PDF [100K].

Architecture, the Expression of the Materials and Methods of Our Times, By Le Corbusier, August 1929 - HTML version | PDF [1.1M].

Competitions-- The Vicissitudes of Architecture, By Leopold Eidlitz, October–December 1894 - HTML version | PDF [56K].

Walter Gropius (on the architectural state of the nation), March 1956 - HTML version | PDF [2M].

Architecture at Harvard University, by Walter Gropius, May 1937 - HTML version | PDF [774K].