LEGO have produced two kits which bring to small, blocky life two of Frank Lloyd Wright’s – no, more than that, the 20th Century’s – greatest buildings – Fallingwater (built 1937, situated in Bear Run, Pennsylvania), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1959, New York City).
Frank Lloyd Wright has for a long time now been my favourite architect. Fallingwater was the first building of his I saw, on the cover of a high school art text book. Actually, it is pretty much the photograph you’ll see near the bottom of this article. Books, DVDs, CD-ROMs, photographs… I’ve been studying and collecting these and more ever since. I even managed to wedge in my Frank Lloyd Wright habit into some major assignments at university, into an area study with absolutely nothing to do with architecture.
So I’m particularly pleased that LEGO, a giant of the toy world, now experiencing something of a return to form, has decided to represent the work of an absolute giant of the architectural world.
Sadly, the kits aren’t on shelves in Australia. I checked with LEGO on the ground in Australia this week, and the sets are neither here now, nor are they planned for the 2011 range here. So if these kits are of interest, rope in a friend or relative heading to the US, or Google ‘LEGO Frank Lloyd Wright’ to see about buying them online. Both kits are just shy of US$100.
It’s an apt relationship really, as another type of block toy was felt by Wright to be critical to his development and skill as an architect. His mother was determined from an early age to turn her son into a great architect. In addition to hanging pictures of the architectural canon around his room, she also bought him as a young boy a set of educational toys called Froebel Gifts. These geometric building blocks and pattern activity blocks were developed by Friedrich Fröbel, a 19th Century educator who not only coined the word, but was responsible for the concept of kindergarten. There you go, a little Frank Lloyd Wright AND toy block trivia, right there in one paragraph!
The LEGO kits are pictured above. Below see photographs of the breathtaking originals.
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