Saturday, May 16, 2015

A House for Alice Millard

Millard House (La Miniatura,) Pasadena, California, by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1923

About fifteen years ago, while the house was undergoing some restoration work and was closed to public viewing, I trespassed onto the property in order to get a close look, and to photograph the first of Wright’s textile block houses.  No one was around, so I took my time and got a good feeling for the site.  I walked along the edge of the ravine the lot abuts, looking for interesting views, but the best ones were closer to the place itself.  One of the shots I made without looking and I also did a double exposure, but my favorite is the picture of the garden gate from the street.  Over the years I've seen many photographs of this great building, but none of them look like the ones I took that day.  The tarpaulins, and the ropes and stakes holding them in place, bring it back to what it was when Wright's son, Lloyd, was overseeing construction.  It's a perpetual building site, like the building site where I lived in the Berkeley Hills thirty years ago.  All great buildings should be seen under these conditions, as well as finished and seemingly complete.

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