Meet the Man Resurrecting Frank Lloyd Wright's Forgotten Masterpieces

He designed 1,114 structures. Only 532 were actually built.

By Alex Lauer

 
Meet the Man Resurrecting Frank Lloyd Wright's Forgotten Masterpieces
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29 March 2017

During his prolific career, American architect/demigod Frank Lloyd Wright designed a whopping 1,114 structures. Only five-hundred thirty-two were actually built, and more than a few eventually met their maker (as in a wrecking ball, not FLW).

Unfortunately, that included some masterpieces: like the Larkin Administration Building in Buffalo, New York (razed), and the Rose Pauson House in Phoenix, Arizona (burned down). Instead of accepting this loss of culture, Spanish architect David Romero used his meticulous rendering skills to recreate them.

Larkin Administration Building (4 images)

To achieve the near perfect likenesses, he employed AutoCAD, 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop and "a long list of plug-ins," writes Wired. But more important than his computer skills was an inconceivable attention to detail. To get the materials, placement and scale exactly right, he relied both on personal research and the help of Wright scholars and groupies (through the Save Wright forums).

"It's just a picture," you might say. But this ain’t your daddy’s run-of-the-mill rendering. To wit, here’s one comment from the forums: “... while the interior and exterior brickwork is extremely impressive in this model, places where brick planes meet at a corner are sometimes marred by having vertical joints appear only an inch or two away from the arris, leaving the impression of face brick.”

Nitpicking? Certainly. But it was enough to prompt Romero to adjust his rendering retroactively to heighten the sense of realism.

Rose Pauson House (3 images)

Romero became interested in resurrecting architecture when he was still a student.

“I remember seeing in an old book a black and white photograph of the Parthenon as we know it today, that is, a temple profoundly damaged by wars, plundering, and the inexorable passage of time,” he writes on his blog, Hooked On The Past. “If today it is an impressive ruin that has inspired generations of architects, what an impact this stunning work would have had during its period of greatest splendor!”

So he went about restoring that splendor himself, including Wright’s Trinity Chapel in Norman, Oklahoma — one of the 582 designs that never made it off the page. The abandoned “Ocatilla” Desert Camp in Chandler, Arizona, is next on his list.

Trinity Chapel (2 images)

Unless you have some A-grade carpentry skills and a lot of time on your hands, pick up a print of one of Romero’s renderings right here.

It’s as close as you’re ever gonna get to the real thing.

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