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