MoMA Exhibits the Un-Built Plans of Frank Lloyd Wright

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Renowned mid-century architect Frank Lloyd Wright was nothing if not prolific. When he died in 1959, he left behind thousands of plans, models and sketches — he seemingly held on to every doodle he ever doodled. And now you can see them on view at MoMA in an exhibit called, "Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal"

The items on display show a vast diversity of style for the architect, whose ideas about city planning and use of urban space radically changed throughout his artistic life.

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Frank Lloyd Wright circa 1926

The show begins with Wright's 1913 project, a 24-story headquarters for the San Francisco Call and includes many other sky-high projects, ending with the ambitious plans for his (never-built) Mile High Illinois tower. But the exhibit also includes Wright's counterpoint idea for more spread out, horizontal urban planning — his 12'x12' model for Broadacre City, a low-density community where each family would receive one acre of land. The intricate model was constructed over a period of years, as Wright worked out his ideas for the right way to organize populations.

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Wright's intricate vision for Broadacre City

The exhibit is a fascinating peek into the brain of one of our most celebrated architects and his exploration of the vastly different ways urban and suburban life can work. His apparent love-hate relationship with city density evolved over the course of his career; he changed his mind and then changed it back again, all the while creating interesting and useful work.

See the exhibit in NYC at MoMA.

(Image credits: MoMA; Library of Congress archives)

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Jennifer is the Assistant Editor at Apartment Therapy where she spends her days writing and thinking about decor, food and fashion in NYC. Not too shabby.