Organic Architectures


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project examines organic architecture, a twentieth-century design theory encompassing ecological sensitivity, human scale, and antiauthoritarian politics. Theorized by Frank Lloyd Wright in the early twentieth-century United States, organic architecture was politicized in post-World War II Italy as an antidote to the inhuman grandiosity of fascist monumentality. This project rehistoricizes and newly globalizes the study of organic architecture, identifying it as a diverse set of projects pursued by architects, urbanists, and critics across Italy, the United States, and Brazil. Using art historical methods of formal analysis, and archival sources including photographs, exhibitions, architectural journals, and networks of migration among Latin America, Europe, and the United States, this project traces changing approaches to organic architecture over the second third of the twentieth century. The project examines how intersecting aesthetic and political commitments produced a shift in notions of organicism, which moved from ideas about harmony with nature toward a new—sometimes opportunistic—attentiveness to sociospatial inclusion of marginalized populations.