A great architect’s development and legacy, explored with help from pop-ups, flaps, and other engineered effects.
Current or period photographs of Wright’s projects are enhanced by special features, such as a slider showing Fallingwater’s site before and after construction, to capture a concrete sense of his aesthetic and show directly his mastery of light and space. Aside from an insensitively phrased account of his childhood near a farm his grandfather built in “the lands of the Sioux,” Geis steers nearly clear of biographical detail. Instead, she improves on her similarly designed but uneven portrait of Leonardo da Vinci (2018) by, for instance, pairing schematic pop-up models of a simple cube and of 1908’s Unity Temple to incisive observations about how playing with specially designed “Froebel blocks” informed Wright’s profound understanding of spatial relationships. New York’s Guggenheim Museum (another pop-up) and other buildings are likewise examined. Despite marginal drawings of admiring young observers, all but one white, the pages have an oddly empty look, as much of the narrative and nearly all of the photos are hidden either on a card file in an interior pocket or behind folded or glued on flaps. Still, readers can’t help but come away appreciating Wright’s, er, groundbreaking genius. A rear pocket holds versions of Wright’s childhood toys to punch out and assemble (and lose).
A boon to budding builders and architects in settings where the loose bits won’t pose a problem. (Informational novelty. 10-12)