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Frank Lloyd Wright’s unbuilt ziggurat revolved around the automobile

What two things could be more unlike than cars and buildings? Automobiles are concerned with motion, architecture with the fixed and immobile. Leave it to Frank Lloyd Wright to draw parallels—and connections—between the two.


You may already know that America's most celebrated architect was a serious car guy. However, Wright's appreciation of automobiles went beyond a well-stocked personal garage. The never-realized Gordon Strong Automobile Objective, a structure whose design would later influence one of Wright's most famous buildings, reflects just how deeply he saw the automobile integrated into human society.


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Replies (6)

Replies (6)

Wright was definitely a force in the architectural world, love or hate his designs, (I myself LOVE Fallingwater,) and also a force in his "personality", (again - love or hate.) 

His inclusion of matching interior decor and furnishings reveal how far his dedication, (control) could reach. 

Recently, some cable-tv stations have been frequently showing "House on Haunted Hill", that late-50's William Castle / Vincent Price chestnut. Did you know that the (ugly, to me, it looks like a penitentiary,) building's exterior was another F.L.W. design? Now you do. 

At least his taste in cars was more even-keeled... and excellent. 

Intermediate Driver

Such a great story!  While living in the Washington DC area I often had the opportunity to ride my bicycle in the Maryland area, including many rides up Sugarloaf Mountain, which is a pleasant but not unduly challenging climb.  Apparently there was government interest in acquiring the property to build a summer residence for the White House occupant but Gordon Strong hated FDR so that went nowhere and the property that is now Camp David in the nearby Catoctin Mountains was bought instead.  Sugarloaf Mountain is owned by Stronghold, Inc., a non-profit set up by the Strongs in 1946 so that the property could be preserved and enjoyed by the public.

Pit Crew

What a wonderful article! Surely see the Guggenheim art museum similarity. Is it possible to get a hard copy of this story instead of having to download and print the article?

I am interested in this article for 2 reasons: a) It mentions that FLW owned a 1953 Bentley R-Type convertible (DHC for the uninitiated). I own a 1953 Bentley R-Type also. I have never heard this before and would love to see a picture of it. b) I note that the name Alex Pelzer with the HVA is under the photo of two of FLW's cars in his typical Cherokee Red. I am a member of the HVA and know several people there (Casey Maxon) from my studies in Automotive Preservation at the College of Charleston a few years ago. Has the HVA entered any of FLW's cars in their documented 13 cars? Why is their title listed under the photo?


As Chair of the RROC Early Post War Society, I am interested in researching and writing an article about the 1953 Bentley R-Type that it was said FLW owned for the Society's newsletter. 


I have been a FLW fan for a long time and have been able to tour the SC home that he built in Beaufort Co. for the Stevens family.




Frank Lloyd Wright really was an absolute genius----if you haven't seen "Fallingwater" you should!


/s/ Chris Kennedy

New Driver

I don't see the point of simply driving up and then down a spiral ramp with no destination - it's like a parking garage with no parking. The location called for something much more low key and natural, like log cabins. And building a planetarium on top of a mountain that already had a good view of the sky is just bringing coal to Newcastle. Wright was more of an artist than architect; everything he ever built ended up drafty, leaky, impractical and impossible to live in, and no doubt this project would have suffered the same fate. Fallingwater may be beautiful but the living room has a huge hole in the middle of it for the stairway to the river, and the bedrooms are windowless concrete bunkers set underground to counterbalance the cantilevered portion of the building. I do like his taste in cars however. 


Wright's work was a mixed bag.  His Prairie houses, Falingwater, Taliesin East and West were all beautiful designs--more than enough masterful work to credit him as one of the best architects of his time.  (He, or course, would claim to be the only one.)


But the Guggenheim, however, is a dog turd, and this proposed resort building is equally disastrous.  I think Strong was spot on comparing Wright's silly proposal to Breugel's tower of Babel.  And kudos to Strong for seeing that the emperor (of architecture) had no clothes.

Pit Crew