Columbia Univer­sity

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Liv­ing in Amer­ica

Cel­e­bra­tions for the 150th an­niver­sary of Frank Lloyd Wright con­tin­ues with “Liv­ing in Amer­ica” at Columbia Univer­sity (un­til 17.12.2017), which draws a par­al­lel be­tween two co­eval yet pro­foundly dif­fer­ent projects.

On the one hand is one of Wright’s most fa­mous ur­ban de­vel­op­ment con­cepts: Broad­acre City (19291958). Pre­sented in 1935 at the Rock­e­feller Cen­tre in New York, it in­cluded sin­gle-fam­ily sub­ur­ban hous­ing for white, mid­dle-class and well-to-do Amer­i­cans. On the other hand, be­gun one year later (1936), the first pub­lic hous­ing com­plex in New York, the Har­lem River House was in­tended for African-Amer­i­can labour­ers. Fea­tur­ing seg­re­ga­tion, in­equal­ity, and as­pi­ra­tions for so­cial ad­vance­ment, a snip­pet of Amer­i­can history emerges in ad­di­tion to a re­flec­tion on an ever-per­ti­nent theme: “What is it like to live in Amer­ica today?”

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