This is conceived as an informal and spontaneous annex to my more extensive blog, Grand Strategy: The View from Oregon

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29th August 2012

Photoset with 47 notes

The Gordon House is the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in Oregon, formerly located in Wilsonville and now moved to and installed at The Oregon Garden in Silverton (it takes about an hour to drive from Portland to Silverton, going south on I-5 and taking the Woodburn-Silverton exit).

This is the first Frank Lloyd Wright building I have stood inside. I’ve seen many documentaries about his work, but haven’t previously actually been inside one of his buildings. As soon as you step inside a building designed by a real architect (and not a hack with a pen in hand) it is like a spatial revelation. In other words, the Gordon House did not disappoint.

Seeing how modest the Gordon House is, but at the same time beautiful and functional, I am even more convinced of the unnecessary ugliness of most contemporary housing. Antoni Gaudí demonstrated in Barcelona how apartment blocks can made both beautiful and functional; Frank Lloyd Wright demonstrated how the single-family American home can be both beautiful and functional. Whatever model of human habitation one adopts, it need not be ugly.

Another remarkable thing about the Gordon house was the use of concrete block for much of the structure. In fact, most of the house is concrete block, wood (Western Red Cedar), and glass — material simplicity itself. People think of concrete block as being ugly and industrial, but if it is used properly it is neither. It reminded me of one of my favorite funky old motels on the Oregon coast, which is also mostly concrete block and wood. Some of the fixtures are of a similar design also.

Tagged: Frank Lloyd WrightThe Oregon GardenThe Gordon HousearchitectureOregon

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