Friday, October 30, 2009

Real Life Ayn Rand Character

Remember Howard Roark? The hero of The Fountainhead. The architect who never gave up or gave in in his quest to achieve the sublime?
I always thought he would remain the figment of Ayn Rand's imagination.
Apparently I was wrong. Totally.
There exists at least one such Howard Roark in real life.
Here, read this ...

I stumbled upon another kind of jazz as a high school senior when I participated in, as a member of Mr. Ross's art class, in that memorable visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. The startling beauty of that amazing house, rising improbably from the rocky ledges in a deep-green forest, stayed with me all my life. Wright was commissioned to build the house in 1936 by Edgar Kaufman ... Kaufman wanted a rustic summer home situated in such a way that it would provide a view of the lovely waterfall that tumbled down over the rocky outcrops on the property. Instead, Wright built an iconoclastically modern structure of glass, steel, and native stone, defined by massive horizontal levels of poured concrete that cantilevered dramatically out from the core of the house and rested on invisible supports. The building seemed to float in the trees.

Shades of Howard Roark? Wait, there is more ...

Whatever Kaufmann's reaction to the design of the house, he must have been baffled by where Wright decided to put it. Because instead of choosing a site for the house that would show off the waterfall view to its best advantage, Wright built the house in the one spot where you couldn't see the waterfall at all - directly above the falls, anchored upon the rocky ledges over which the water flowed.

In fact, Frank Lloyd Wright = Howard Roark.

I stumbled upon the above extract in a book called Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland.

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