Geva pens book exploring Frank Lloyd Wright’s sacred architecture

Anat Geva

Anat Geva

The first comprehensive study of Frank Lloyd Wright’s sacred architecture is in a new book by Anat Geva, associate professor of architecture at Texas A&M.

In “Frank Lloyd Wright Sacred Architecture: Faith, Form, and Building Technology,” published by Routledge, Geva is also the first to introduce a theoretical framework of the conceptual model illustrating the relationship between faith, form and building technology in sacred architecture.

“The book offers scholarly discussion on the application of this conceptual model to Wright's religious projects with analytical drawings and photographs,” said Geva. “This unique contribution will be useful to all those interested in Wright’s architecture and theory as well as in the study of sacred architecture.”

Geva’s analysis applies the model to Wright’s main design concepts of nature, democracy and freedom, and his holistic approach to design. Her examination is based on archival studies, field visits to the built sites, Wright’s own writings and an extensive literature review of his work.

Wright designed more than 30 houses of worship, 10 of which were built in Illinois, Florida, Missouri, California, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona. Virtually unaltered since their construction and dedication, they are still used for worship services today.

In the book, said Nader Ardalan, president of Ardalan Associates LLC, and an architect with more than four decades of award-winning experience, Geva insightfully explores vital questions such as

  • How can one create the experience of a transcendent level of existence?
  • What was the value of such a quest for Frank Lloyd Wright?
  • Did he achieve his vision for an authentic, spiritually inspired American architectural identity?

“Geva convincingly explores these vital questions and more through a rigorous discussion that unveils the qualitative and quantitative essences of Wright’s philosophy, revealing that actually all his architecture was inspired by the sacred,” said Ardalan. “Such a profound discussion is well worth considering in our contemporary age, so removed from a sense of the numinous.”

Thomas Barrie, professor of architecture at North Carolina State University, said Geva arrives at new insights concerning the cultural and technological significance of Wright’s architecture.

“Geva provides fresh perspectives on Wright’s oeuvre while illustrating the power of sacred places to affect, elucidate and uplift,” said Barrie. “This timely book captures the ‘true beauty’ of Wright’s work while demonstrating ways in which we might build more meaningfully today.”

Geva, an associate member of the American Institute of Architects and a registered architect in Israel, is the co-editor of the scholarly journal Preservation Education and Research. She is a recipient of several awards, including the prestigious James Marston Fitch National Award for innovative research in historic preservation in America for her project, “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architecture: A Computerized Energy Simulation Study.”

In addition to sacred architecture, her areas of interest are architectural design in an international, historic and environmental context, historic preservation, and building technology history.

She is a faculty fellow at Texas A&M’s Center for Heritage Conservation and in Religious Studies at the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research.

posted November 1, 2011