This evening, I attended the first lecture in the 2008 Break::the:Box lecture series at Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple and it was fantastic! Philip Allsopp, President and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation delivered the keynote address for the '08 season and touched on some very intriguing critiques and concepts on how to address many of the challenges posed by the calamitous condition of America's built environment.
The current state of American buildings is appalling on many levels. The current fallout in this country from the bursting housing bubble is just one example of how the status quo of building for profit vs. building for living isn't cutting it.
In his lecture, Mr. Allsopp proposed an alternative educational approach towards built environmental design, building and restoration. The basic idea is to offer education and career alternatives to the standard college education that most American's feel obligated to pursue. A return to an "apprentice learning a craft from a master approach" would help our culture re-learn many of the arts and crafts that lead to the humanization of our buildings, cities, interiors, etc. This return to the ideals of craftsmanship would be learned through such means as restoration work (thus saving our existing cultural heritage) and be furthered applied in newly built environments--thus bringing quality and spirit back to the spaces in our lives.
It's an interesting concept and one that the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation hopes to nurture and participate in as an important catalyst through education, outreach and partnership. It's through the same principles that Wright originally utilized in his revolutionary work that we can find a path forward in the 21st Century.
If these sorts of topics interest you, I would highly suggest investigating the upcoming lectures in the Unity Temple's Break::the::Box series--you won't be disappointed!
Image courtesy of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel