Usonia was a word used by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright to refer to his vision for the landscape of the United States, including the planning of cities and the architecture of buildings. Wright proposed the use of the adjective Usonian in place of American to describe the particular New World character of the American landscape as distinct and free of previous architectural conventions.
Usonia is a mispronunciation of Usona , acronym of “United States of North America” and was attributed by Wright to Samuel Butler , although in reality it was already coined in 1903 by James Duff Law, an American writer, in order to find an adjective that the American people could attribute to alternative to the generic “Americans”, “Usonian” precisely ( usonian ) .
Wright took the term to describe what in his projects was to be defined as a specifically US architecture, based on the North American model of life and inserted in the natural landscape of the United States. In particular, the architect was involved, in the historical period of the great depression , as well as in the direction of the Taliesin Fellowship – a program of specialization in architecture – and in a couple of large private projects (including the famous Casa Kaufmann ), in the studio of Broadacre City and in the construction of many isolated houses destined, however, not to wealthy families, but of medium availability .
Frank Lloyd Wright had founded the Taliesin Fellowship in 1932, but, as the commissions were scarce at that time, he asked the students to assist him in the project of a Usonian city .
Wright had written the essay The Desappearing City in that year in which he expressed his ideas on urban planning. He thought it useful to decentralize the functions of overcrowded cities into new country centers and designed Broadacre City as a sprawling city with a low population density. Each housing lot included a plot of at least one acre (4,000 sq m) of surface area so that citizens could isolate themselves in the greenery or invest their time in agriculture; countryside and city were mixed. Wright presented the model of the city in 1935 , it was a model made by the students of the Taliesin Fellowship 3.7 m large 3.7 m; the city had a square plan of 10 km per side.
The stagnation period of the commissions lasted for Wright until 1935, during the following ten years he was involved in the construction of the waterfall house for Edgar J. Kaufmann and the SC Johnson & Son headquarters , as well as dozens of single-family houses on a decidedly budget. lower .
“Usonian” is a term usually referring to a group of approximately sixty middle-income family homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright beginning in 1936 with the Jacobs House. The “Usonian Homes” are typically small, single-story dwellings without a garage or much storage. They are often L-shaped to fit around a garden terrace on unusual and inexpensive sites. They are characterized by native materials; flat roofs and large cantilevered overhangs for passive solar heating and natural cooling; natural lighting with clerestory windows; and radiant-floor heating. A strong visual connection between the interior and exterior spaces is an important characteristic of all Usonian homes. The word carport was coined by Wright to describe an overhang for sheltering a parked vehicle.
The Usonia Historic District is a planned community in Pleasantville, New York built in the 1950s following this concept. Wright designed 3 of the 47 homes himself.
Variants of the Jacobs House design are still in existence today. The Usonian design is considered among the aesthetic origins of the ranch-style house popular in the American west of the 1950s.
In 2013, Florida Southern College constructed the 13th Wright building on their campus according to plans that he created in 1939. The 1,700 sq. ft. building includes textile-block construction, colored glass in perforated concrete blocks, Wright photographs, a documentary film about the architect’s work at the school, and furniture designed by Wright. Named the “Usonian House”, it was originally designed as one of twenty faculty housing units. The building is home to the Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center, a visitor center for guests visiting campus to see the collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.
Origin of the word
The word Usonian appears to have been coined by James Duff Law, an American writer born in 1865. In a miscellaneous collection entitled, Here and There in Two Hemispheres (1903), Law quoted a letter of his own (dated June 18, 1903) that begins “We of the United States, in justice to Canadians and Mexicans, have no right to use the title ‘Americans’ when referring to matters pertaining exclusively to ourselves.” He went on to acknowledge that some author had proposed “Usona”, but that he preferred the form “Usonia”. Perhaps the earliest published use by Wright was in 1927:
But why this term “America” has become representative as the name of these United States at home and abroad is past recall. Samuel Butler fitted us with a good name. He called us Usonians, and our Nation of combined States, Usonia.
–Frank Lloyd Wright on Architecture: Selected Writings 1894–1940, p. 100.
However, this seems to be a misattribution, as there is as yet no published evidence that Butler ever used the word.
It has become the established name for the United States in Esperanto. The creator of Esperanto, L. L. Zamenhof, used Usono in his speech at the 1910 World Congress of Esperanto in Washington, D.C., coincidentally the same year Wright was in Europe. But it was already well-established by 1908, when Joseph Rhodes, a fellow of the British Esperanto Association and a member of the Lingva Komitato, published The English-Esperanto Dictionary which was:
based upon the “Fundamento,” the Esperanto literature, and the national-Esperanto dictionaries bearing Dr. Zamenhof’s “aprobo”
José F. Buscaglia-Salgado reclaims the term Usonian to refer to the peoples, national ideology and neo-imperial tradition of the United States of America.
Miguel Torres-Castro uses the term Usonian to refer to the origin of the Atlantic Puffin bird used in the children’s book Jupu the Puffin: A Usonian Story. The bird is a puffin from Maine, USA.
Noted Usonian houses
Dudley Spencer House, Wilmington, Delaware
John D. Haynes House, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Goetsch-Winckler House, Okemos, Michigan
Alvin and Inez Miller residence, Charles City, Iowa
Arthur Pieper residence, Paradise Valley, Arizona
Bachman Wilson House, Millstone, New Jersey
Benjamin Rebhuhn House, Great Neck Estates, New York
Bernard Schwartz House, Two Rivers, Wisconsin
Donald Schaberg House, Okemos,Michigan
Donald C. Duncan House, Donegal, Pennsylvania (dismantled and relocated from its original location in Lisle, Illinois)
Dorothy H. Turkel House, Detroit, Michigan
Frank S. Sander House, Stamford, Connecticut
Erling P. Brauner House, Okemos, Michigan
Evelyn and Conrad Gordon House, Wilsonville, Oregon (later moved to Silverton, Oregon)
George Sturges House, Los Angeles, California
Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House, Madison, Wisconsin
J.A. Sweeton Residence, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
John and Ruth Pew House, Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin
John Gillin Residence, Dallas, Texas
John T. and Margaret Nichols House, Allouez, Wisconsin
Kenneth and Phyllis Laurent House, Rockford, Illinois
Kentuck Knob, Stewart Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania
John and Syd Dobkins House, Canton, Ohio
Nathan Rubin House, Canton, Ohio
Ellis Feiman House, Canton, Ohio
Louis Penfield House, Willoughby Hills, Ohio
Lovness House and Cottage, Stillwater, Minnesota
Lowell and Agnes Walter House, Quasqueton, Iowa
Malcolm Willey House, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Melvyn Maxwell and Sara Stein Smith House, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Muirhead Farmhouse, Hampshire, Illinois
Paul J. and Ida Trier House, Johnston, Iowa
Paul and Jean Hanna House, Palo Alto, California
Pope-Leighey House, Alexandria, Virginia
Robert H. Sunday House, Marshalltown, Iowa
Robert and Rae Levin House, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Rosenbaum House, Florence, Alabama
Samara (John E. Christian House), West Lafayette, Indiana
Usonia Homes, Pleasantville, New York
Sol Friedman House
Edward Serlin House
Roland Reisley House
Weltzheimer/Johnson House, Oberlin, Ohio
Zimmerman House, Manchester, New Hampshire
Kraus House, Kirkwood, Missouri
Hause House, Lansing, Michigan
Peters Margedant House, University of Evansville, Evansville, Indiana
Source From Wikipedia