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Natural House Paperback – 3 Aug 1978


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Amazon.com: 5 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Usonian architecture explained 12 Nov. 2003
By Michael B. Brand - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
3.5 starts would have been my rating if given that option.
The Natural House is essentially Wrights explanation/defense/sales-pitch for his Usonian houses. The first chapter (Organic Architecture) was written by Wright in 1936 and originally published in The Architect's Journal of London. The next four chapters (Building the New House, In the Nature of Materials: A Philosophy, The Usonian House I, The Usonian House II) were written by Wright and first published in 1943 in "An Autobiography". The remainder of the book was written by Wright in 1953-4.
I found the first 67 pages to be a difficult read. I am not an architect and suspect that an architect would get more out of these first three chapters. These chapters were part autobiography, part history, part philosophy and part contemptuous rant against all architects who were not his own students. Having plodded through those pages, I feel that I could have skipped them.
Suddenly, on the 68th page, the book takes a dramatic turn and becomes a much easier read. This last three-fourths of the book explains Unosian architecture in very accessible terms. There are multiple examples of houses with photographs of exterior and interior views and floor plans. I found the floor plans to be the most beneficial and interesting part of the book and would buy the book for the floor plans alone.
In the explanatory text Wright discusses building location, foundations, lighting, materials, insulation, heating, cooling, furnishings, contractors, etc. Each topic is discussed in fairly general terms, but since Wright's approach is quite different from most other architects, the general explanations are valuable.
In the chapter titled "Grammar: The House as a Work of Art" Wright again waxes philosophical, but this time in a more understandable manner (having written this part of the book much later than the first chapters).
Wright devotes 11 pages to a brief explanation of what he calls the Usonian Automatic. This is essentially a cinderblock and steel rod home that can be assembled by the homeowner.
Wright closes the book by comparing his philosophy of architecture to that of the Orient. He concludes that even though the two philosophies are similar, his is original because he developed it ignorant of the Orient's philosophies and only learned of those philosophies after his philosophy was developed.
Having read the book I feel that I have a much better understanding of Wright as a person than I did from having read books about his architecture (the benefit of reading the first 67 pages). I also now have a very good understanding of Usonian architecture.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Relavent classic 11 Mar. 2000
By Chris Morgan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Written in 1954, this short book is somewhat dated but Wright's words and thoughts are universal enough to be meaningful today. Wright's view of "The Natural House" adds cultural understanding to how we build and describes an idealistic precursor to contemporary "eco-building." Required reading for anyone who is interested in the curtural context of the building process.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Why is this Book Not in Print? 18 Jan. 2011
By knox2@clemson.edu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I wanted to use The Natural House as a book for a graduate seminar on Frank Lloyd Wright I am teaching this semester at Clemson University. Sadly, it is not in print. This is one of the original treatises on sustainable architecture. Please, someone reprint it! Thanks.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Essential Reading 6 Sept. 2013
By Jeffery W. Ford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wright's style is difficult but this book gives clues to how he thought. A good resource for a docent to use.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great condition for how old it is 27 Mar. 2009
By Casey Otero - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was amazed how great of condition this book is in. Although the cover price says 75 cents and I paid around 5 dollars the book was published around 1950 so that is to be expected.
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