That would be Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson.
In the years they shared—between their first acquaintance in 1931 and Wright’s death in April 1959—the two men were the yin and the yang, in love and in hate, the positive and negative charges that gave American architecture its compass. Up until his own death in 2005, Johnson would spend long decades wrestling with Mr. Wright’s shadow.
Several years ago I decided there was a book in their sparring—and in the immeasurable contributions they made to twentieth-century architecture. In May 2016, Bloomsbury will be publishing Architecture’s Odd Couple, a dual biography of the two men and a look at their greatest works, in particular Fallingwater, the Glass House, the Guggenheim Museum, and Johnson’s collaboration with Miës van der Rohe, the Seagram Building.
The first admiring words about the book have been heard; this generous blurb comes from America’s favorite handyman, Bob Vila:
“Who’da thunk, a page turner about two architects and there’s no bloodshed! Hugh Howard brings to life the rivalry between these two giants of the world’s most egotistical profession and still gives us a happy ending.”
I hope you’ll want to read it, too.
If you want to hear me talk about the book – and the ineffable Messieurs Johnson and Wright, please get in touch; my email is email@example.com.
I’ve often talked about the past in connection with my previous books, which include Houses of the Founding Fathers, The Painter’s Chair, Houses of the Presidents, and others (for a partial list of where I’ve talked, click on Appearances, above).
I write for a mix of publications, too; for a sampling of those articles, see Miscellaneous short-form writings.
So let us talk, please, whether it’s about “frienemies” Johnson and Wright, the Civil War, the presidential past, the Founding Fathers, or any other passion we might share.