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If you build it, they will come. Not necessarily!

During the 1920s, architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed several projects that, for various reasons, were never realized. The Gordon Strong Automobile Objective was designed for Gordon Strong (1869-1954), a Chicago businessman of considerable wealth. During travels in 1902, Strong became captivated by Sugarloaf Mountain, a solitary outcrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains with the feel of wilderness in the midst of a cultivated landscape, and he began to acquire land that comprised both the mountain itself and its undeveloped setting.

During the summer of 1924, Strong met with Wright to discuss possible schemes for its development, and by September of that year had fixed upon an ambitious program. As he explained to Wright, he wanted to erect "a structure on the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain" that would "serve as an objective for short motor trips," primarily from Washington and Baltimore, both nearby.

The Strong project celebrated mobility in a way no other design had, for while there was ample precedent for spiral structures, none had been conceived in just this way, nor been so fully integrated with its setting. Neither had roadways been so dramatically recognized. Strong rejected the design, feeling it inappropriate, and built a more conventional park instead. Wright, apparently captivated by the spiral, continued to develop its potential in several later projects, of which the Guggenheim Museum (1942-59) is the best known.

Image of model for the Gordon Strong Automobile ObjectiveFrank Lloyd Wright, head-and-shoulders portrait

The exhibtion Frank Lloyd Wright: Designs for an American Landscape, 1922-1932 was on view at the Library of Congress November 1996-February 1997. You can view it and many other Library exhibitions online at the Exhibitions Web site. Or read more about Frank Lloyd Wright in the "America's Library" Web site for children and families.

A. Image of model for the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective. Model created for the exhibition by George Ranalli, architect, with Aaron McDonald and Nathaniel Worden, model makers. Reproduction information: The intellectual property rights for the majority of Frank Lloyd Wright's drawings are administered by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. For information concerning permissions, reproductions and other uses, contact Frank Lloyd Wright Archives, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ 85261.

B. Frank Lloyd Wright, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly right. Created between 1920 and 1925. Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-119863

View major online presentations of such exhibitions as 'The Wizard of Oz,' 'American Treasures' and 'Bob Hope'
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View major online presentations of selected exhibitions.