NCSU Students, with Vincent A. DeGutis and
Frank DePasquale (to the
right and far right of Wright)
Wright, Kamphoefner, and Frank Depasquale
Frank Depasquale directly behind him.
There's a student taking photos on the right.
Wright with Kamphoefner
Wright with Kamphoefner
Photos courtesy of NC State University Archives
Noted Architect Urges South To Humanize Buildings
NCSU Technician, Vol. 30 No. 29, May 19, 1950
America’s chief capitalistic crime is “urbanization,”
Frank Lloyd Wright, noted architect and author, told an audience of about 6,000
people in the William Neal Reynolds Coliseum at State College Wednesday night.
Wright, delivering an address under the sponsorship of the State College School
of Design, called for a “decentralization” of the nation’s population centers
and branded the big cities with towering skyscrapers as “vampires” incapable of
survival without nourishment from the villages and rural areas.
Develop “Organic Architecture”The South’s agrarian background and its failure to build large cities, he said,
give this region the distinction of having less “vampires” than the North—a
factor, he stated, which will enable the Southern states to develop an "organic
architecture” suited to its own needs. “War,” he continued, “is the
clearing house for the civilization represented by the cities of the North.”
He urged the South’s leaders to work toward an “organic architecture” and “to
humanize their buildings, making them richly human, warmly human with an
Greatest of Arts
The 80-year-old architect described architecture as “the greatest of all the
arts and mother of the arts—the very essence and soul of our culture” and said
that “Organic architecture is founded upon the essential principles which we
should call democracy.” “Organic architecture,” he stated, “grows
from within outward—a thing of the spirit.” The nation’s sehools, he asserted,
should revamp their curricula “to educate a man to see himself as himself” and
should forget their “reverence of the past.”
Students today, he explained, must choose between “hypocritical humility” and
“honest arrogance.” Turning to the hundreds of students attending the lecture,
he said: “I urge you to choose honest arrogance as the path to becoming
cultivated individuals capable of cultivating others, but I warn you that it
will not be easy at first.”
Believe in Yourselves
Appealing to the students “to believe in yourselves,” Wright said that “nobody
has any faith any more in anything or anybody, because we don’t have faith in
ourselves.” Such an attitude, he warned, is hampering progress. He said
that “the corporate press” is selling the nation its ideas and its opinions and
expressed the opinion that the public does little thinking of its own.
Consequently, he said, America “deserves the architecture which it has.” He
concluded his message with a plea to the audience to do its part in developing
“a great creative architecture.” “We don’t have it now, but let’s have
it,” he pleaded.
Wright, a prominent figure in American architecture for half a century, was
given a rising ovation by the audience of about 5,000 as he entered the
Coliseum. When he concluded his remarks, he received another loud ovation.
He was introduced by H. Th. Wijdeveld, a visiting professor of architecture in
the State College School of Design and an associate of Wright for 30 years. Dean
Henry L. Kamphoefner of the School of Design presided and acted as moderator
during an open forum discussion following the address.
Letter from architecture critic Lewis Mumford about Wright's visit
supplied by Russ Stephenson.
Sources include: NC State University.