FA 0440 Frank Lloyd Wright (WE)
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
248 Biddle Hall
T-Th 3:30 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Dr. Valerie S. Grash, Associate Professor of Fine Arts
Office: 230B Biddle Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:30-2:00 p.m.; and by appointment.
This course is a comprehensive study of master architect Frank Lloyd Wright, carefully examining his life, his career and his ideas. Beginning with his unique childhood, we will chronologically examine not only those people and forces that influenced him, but also study his development as an architect. A close examination of his major works and various periods in his career will reveal several dominant themes that emerged in his designs. Additionally, we will discuss other modern architectural movements and important architects, either who influenced Wright or upon which he made an impact.
At the conclusion of this course, you will:
- Possess a complete understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright's unique life and personality.
- Recognize his architectural works and fully comprehend his distinct vision of architecture and society.
- Be able to contextualize modern architectural movements and architects.
- Write expressively and thoughtfully about architecture.
Course Web Site
- Robert C. Twombly, Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life and His Architecture (Wiley-Interscience, 1987) ISBN-13: 978-0471857976
- Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (Signet, 1996) ISBN-13: 978-0451191151 (however, any printing will do)
Additional textual and visual materials for this course (including monuments and terms covered in lecture); original documents and required readings; your grades; and pertinent announcements concerning class meetings and examinations are found at: http://courseweb.pitt.edu
Notice Regarding Course Changes:
I reserve the right to modify the timing, order and content of the course schedule. It is your responsibility to attend class and be aware of any changes. Check with the course web site regarding any class cancellations should they become necessary due to adverse weather conditions or other situations.
Please note: this is a Writing Enhanced course, which means a significant amount of writing is involved. This is not meant to overwhelm you, but instead aid in your development as a thoughtful thinker and writer of ideas.
Please carefully read the following-they are policies that I steadfastly maintain in this course.
My role is to facilitate learning through lecture and clarification of specific points through questioning and discussion, whether in the classroom, during office hours or via electronic correspondence. It is your responsibility to attend class, take accurate notes and approach me with any questions and issues for clarification in a timely manner.
While there is no attendance policy for this course, be forewarned that what you will be tested on is discussed thoroughly in class. Even with the textbook, nothing replaces viewing the images projected on screen. Therefore, regular attendance is necessary to succeed in this course. In addition, as classroom discussion is expected, poor attendance will adversely affect you if it comes down to a borderline decision on your final grade.
Notes and Note Taking:
Under no circumstances do I provide notes for missed classes. It is your responsibility, if you miss a class, to acquire the lecture notes from a classmate. Class assignments and announcements are also available on the course website. You may tape-record lectures as long as you do not disturb others in the class.
Be certain your cell phone is turned OFF, as it is both annoying and disruptive to the entire class when it rings. Anyone sending or receiving text messages will be asked to leave-this course deserves your full attention. If you can't do that, drop the class immediately.
I give make-up exams only in cases with legitimate, documented reasons (death in the family, personal hospitalization, required fieldtrips, etc.). In such cases, inform me in advance and provide written confirmation of your absence. Do not assume every absence is excused or warrants special consideration. The alternative make-up exam must be taken within one week of the scheduled test; only one makeup exam per student will be permitted. No one can make-up the final exam, which must be taken at the scheduled time.
No extensions are granted for class assignments. Due dates are clearly noted on the syllabus at the beginning of the semester. You should start each assignment in a timely manner and even complete assignments early. Illness or any other excuse has no bearing on the fact that your work was not turned in on time. Any assignment not turned in by the due date will not be graded, thus earning 0 points for the work. No exceptions are permitted so do not ask!
Academic Integrity Policy:
Please read carefully the Academic Integrity Guidelines in your student handbook. They will be followed to the letter in this course. There is ZERO tolerance for cheating or plagiarism. Any time that you use another person's words or thoughts as your own without giving them proper credit is plagiarism, including copying and pasting from the Internet. Any instance of cheating or plagiarism will result in an automatic "F" (0 points) for that assignment, and steps will be taken, according to the Academic Integrity Guidelines, to receive an "F" for the course and for action leading to expulsion from the university. I will not permit re-writing any suspected plagiarized assignment.
Students with disabilities who may be requesting academic accommodations for this course should notify the course instructor and the Office of Disability Services, as early as possible in the term. The Director of Disability Services will verify the disability and determine reasonable accommodations for the course. To schedule an appointment or to learn more about these services at UPJ, please call extension 7109 or visit the Academic Support Center in G -16 Owen Library.
Grading and Course Requirements
Overall, you can earn 500 points during the semester. On this scale:
500-490 (A+) 489-465 (A) 464-450 (A-)
449-440 (B+) 439-415 (B) 414-400 (B-)
399-390 (C+) 389-365 (C) 364-350 (C-)
349-300 (D) 299 and below (F)
Your grade will be determined in the following manner:
Examinations (360 points total):
There will be three exams (February 7, March 15, and April 23) during the semester, each worth 120 points. The format will comprise of multiple choice questions and essay questions drawn from class notes and readings. The final will NOT be comprehensive, but only will cover the material since the previous exam.
Short Writing Assignments (90 points total):
You will complete three short (2-3 typewritten, double-spaced pages) writing assignments during the semester, each worth 30 points. These assignments will provoke not only self-examination of your reactions to architecture, but also sharpen your evaluation of Frank Lloyd Wright and his ideas. Specific guidelines for each assignment are provided on the course web site. These assignments (with due dates) are:
#1 Descriptive Analysis Essay of Your Home (January 26)
#2 Critical Article Review (February 23)
#3 Reaction to Mike Wallace Interviews (March 27)
Course Project (50 points):
You will complete one of the following projects:
- Create a physical 3-D architectural model of a specific Wright building, accompanied by a short (2-3 pages) documented paper outlining the building's history and main characteristics.
- Create a comprehensive scrapbook consisting of a floor plan and elevation drawings of YOUR ideal home, with accompanying commentary (2-3 pages) outlining the building's placement, location, style, materials and layout. You should include discussion of how Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural ideas influenced your choices-or not.
Specific guidelines for the project are posted on the course web site. Please follow these carefully in order to insure you adequately fulfill the requirements for the assignment. The course project is due: April 19.
January 05 Course Introduction
January 10 Wright's Family and Formative Years
January 12 Henry Hobson Richardson and Other Early Influences on Frank Lloyd Wright
January 17 Liebermeister: The Architecture and Writings of Louis Sullivan
January 19 World Columbian Exposition of 1893, and the Emergence of the "White City"
January 24 Nineteenth Century Domestic Architecture, and Wright's Oak Park Home and Studio
January 26 The Prairie School Houses (Short Writing Assignment #1 due)
January 31 Corporate Paternalism: The Larkin Building, and Wright in Buffalo, NY
February 02 Unity Temple and Frederick Robie House: Last Years in Chicago
February 07 Exam I
February 09 European Contact: De Stijl, The Bauhaus and European Modernism
February 14 Taliesin (Spring Green, WI) and Tragedy
February 16 Wright in Japan: Imperial Hotel
February 21 California Homes: Meso-American Experiments
February 23 Taliesin West and the Taliesin Fellowship (Short Writing Assignment #2 due)
February 28 Broadacre City: Utopian Dreams for Urban Living
March 01 Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927)
March 06 No Class-Spring Recess
March 08 No Class-Spring Recess
March 13 Usonian: Middle Class Homes for Americans
March 15 Exam II
March 20 Mike Wallace Interviews with Wright
March 22 Wingspread, and Johnson Wax Administration Building and Research Tower (Racine, WI)
March 27 Fallingwater: Introduction (Short Writing Assignment #3 due)
March 29 Fallingwater and Wright-Kaufmann Projects for Pittsburgh
April 03 In-Class Discussion of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead
April 05 Wright Addressing the Tall Building
April 10 Marin County Civic Center (San Raphael, CA) and City Center Designs
April 12 Wright's Late Religious Structures: Beth Shalom and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
April 17 Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY): Rethinking the Art Museum
April 19 Wright's Legacy (Course Project due)
Final Exam: Monday, April 23, 12:30-2:30 p.m.