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œChapter4œ
Sculptured design of
marble by the driveway
Designated National ImportantCultural Asset
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
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Grasping ideas and works:
Wright, a magician of formative art
Decorative copper
plate with leaf motif

Motifs of formative art?

It is said that Wright used nature as his principle, and had ideals in architecture that merged with nature. His philosophy is expressed beautifully in the design of YODOKO Guest House, as well as in its decoration. In order not to miss what is expressed in them while your attention is being drawn to the wonderfulness and sheer number of figurations, what motifs Wright used as a magician of formative art, and why they were used a number of times is explained here by revealing his tricks and ideas.


Abstraction of plants that grow in the neighboring nature

Carefully designed ornaments are decorated at numerous places in the YODOKO Guest House from exterior walls of the building to indoor pillars and interiors, and these ornaments are abstractions of trees and flowers in the neighborhood. In other words, natural figures are used as design motifs. One example is the decorative copper plates with leaf motif, which can be found here and there as transoms above doors, windows, and lintels. Not only focused on shapes, the plates were intentionally oxidized with verdigris to make their color close to natural green. Further, for places where natural lighting is necessary, openwork is used for the plates to create the effect of light streaming through the leaves of a tree.

Decorative wall window
Transom above the lintel
Effect of light shining through the leaves of a tree
Marbles on sides of the fireplace

Skilful arrangement into geometric patterns
Decorative column from the ceiling
Dining room with sophisticated decoration
Geometric pattern
Stylish design
It is said that, in his entire life, Wright never let go of his ruler and compass. A number of decorations of the YODOKO Guest House prove that Wright's creation was surprisingly rich in variety. Looking carefully at each design individually, however, you will notice an unexpected fact. The figurations, which seem diverse in design, in fact, are based upon simple shapes such as the square and triangle, and they are skillfully arranged into geometric patterns with a certain rule. At the same time, by repeating patterns, it is thought that Wright intended to express the rhythm of nature.

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Originally ventilation holes
(2nd floor salon)
"Optimistic Estimation of Rain in Japan? Wright's miscalculation"
Moisture tends to stay in buildings in Japan with its high humidity. In order to solve this problem, there are many ventilation holes installed in the YODOKO Guest House. Furthermore, being stylishly decorated by Wright, they transform flat walls into living ones, creating a very unique atmosphere. Some places, however, have been changed from Wright's original plan. Although the ventilation holes in the second floor salon originally had wire screens, glass is installed there now to protect from humidity and rain, and they are used as skylights. It might be said that the amount of rain from the rainy reason, long rains of autumn, and typhoon was beyond what Wright could have imagined.
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*This article was written by Yodogawa Steel Works, under the supervision of Mr. Fumitaka Hirata of the Building Research Institute Foundation, which administrates the restoration and preservation of YODOKO Guest House.


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