Breathing Life into Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unbuilt Sketches

webavatar cover in top left

Breathing Life into Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unbuilt Sketches

Friday February 10, 2017 Written by Smith

In 1958, a former used car salesman named Fred Jones wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright, and asked if the world’s most revered architect might have time to design him a chapel for his upcoming wedding. Wright, who would apparently design buildings for anyone who bothered to ask, quickly got to work sketching out something he called the “Sectless Chapel” – a rocket-like needle straddling a base of car park-hiding ramps.

Unfortunately, though, the design was never built. Jones had neglected to mention that he planned to donate the chapel to the University of Oklahoma after celebrating his nuptials. When the university reviewed the sketch, they wrote back and said they wanted something more conventional, and Wright scrapped the project.

That would have been the end of it, had it not been for David Romero. The Spanish architect recently uncovered Wright’s old sketches and decided to convert them into a 3D model using modern architectural tools. “I have had to speculate in some details that were not yet designed by Wright,” Romero says, such as the design of the “ stained glass, the pulpit [and] large pond.” But in every decision he asked himself WWFD (What would Frank do?), and ended up with something we think is pretty bang-on. (Though we'd like to see more 1950s-era wooden panelling.)

Alas there aren't any plans to actually build the damn thing. But if any universities are in need of a new chapel, we think this one would do rather nicely.