Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sullivan vs. Wright the Eternal Struggle

We stopped by Mason City to see the newly re-opened Park Inn Hotel. It is the only surviving hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

It has been remodeled to be a functioning hotel. So they've made a lot of additions and choices many of which Lilly and I disagreed with. Like converting the old cafe into a lobby. Then filling it with Stickley furniture instead of Wrights own designs. The glass skylight is however original. 

Overall we felt it was not Wrights best work. He would probably agree. He was in Europe to finish up the Wasmuth portfolio when the hotel was being constructed and it doesn't seem that he paid it much attention.  But it is still a important example of prairie style. 

We then crossed the border into Minnesota and visited Owatonna which is home to a fantastic Louis Sullivan "jewel box" bank. 
The interior was meticulously restored and it shows. The whole effect is complicated without being overwhelming, charming without loosing it's seriousness.
In this small sample it was clear to us the superior architect was Louis Sullivan. For us the grasshopper will never out do the sensei.

But we will keep a running tally as we travel America. Current score: FLW = 0 LS = 1

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