Wright's Usonian High-Rises Foiled by the Great Depression

Frank Lloyd Wright's design for a Usonian high-rise on the Bowery featured rotated open floor plans to provide living space variation.

Frank Lloyd Wright is not particularly well-known for his designs of urban dwellings, let alone high-rises.

If it weren't for the Great Depression, however, three FLW-designed glass towers in New York City's East Village would jut above the uniformly low-rise blocks of the neighborhood, anchoring the historic St. Mark's Church on the Bowery today.

In keeping with Wright's Usonian vision, the towers were designed like trees, each with a central "trunk" or structural core supporting open plan concrete floor plates. A curtain wall exterior, a triangular site and the absence of other nearby tall structures allowed plenty of light to enter the buildings. Wright had planned a two-story penthouse for himself atop one of the towers.

His design was implemented in Bartlesville, OK

Full Story: Frank Lloyd Wright's 1930 Plans for Glassy East Village Towers


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.