Price Tower - Bartlesville, Oklahoma by Brian Barnes

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Price Tower Commentary

“Wright had two major difficulties of a philosophical sort in designing a skyscraper: first, as a believer in an architecture close to nature, he had a hard time justifying a tal, upright, seemingly anti-nature building; and, second, his obsession with the twin concepts of continuity and plasticity—a preoccupation that had led him to the sea-shell and the cocoon as ideal structural prototypes—made it difficult to approach the design of a tall, multicellular building…He solved this dilemma in a characteristic fashion, by going to the one source in nature which did suggest a way of building a tall structure: the form of a tree.

In structural terms a tree is a vertical beam cantilevered out of the ground…

To Wright, the cantilever was also the ‘most romantic, most free, of all principle of construction.’…

By 1929,…Wright had really designed his concrete-and-glass tree just the way he wanted it: the vertical service core was the trunk, and all utilities were contained within this vertical shaft. All floors were cantilevered out from it, and the exterior skin was simply sheathed in glass and metal. This project—the famous apartment tower for the vestry of St Mark’s-in -the Bouweie in New York—was never built, but Wright returned to the basic concept again and again; finally, in 1954, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Wright was able to build his St Mark’s tower—twenty-five years after it was first designed."

— Peter Blake. Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture and Space. p86-88.

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