Paul Hendrickson & Witold Rybczynski



Please join us as

Paul Hendrickson & Witold Rybczynski

discuss their latest works:

PLAGUED BY FIRE: THE DREAMS & FURIES OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
&
CHARLESTON FANCY: LITTLE HOUSES & BIG DREAMS IN THE HOLY CITY

About PLAGUED BY FIRE

From the award-winning and nationally best-selling author of Hemingway’s Boat and Sons of Mississippi–an illuminating, pathbreaking biography that will change the way we understand the life, mind, and work of the premier American architect.

Frank Lloyd Wright has long been known as a rank egotist who held in contempt almost everything aside from his own genius. Harder to detect, but no less real, is a Wright who fully understood, and suffered from, the choices he made. This is the Wright whom Paul Hendrickson reveals in this masterful biography: the Wright who was haunted by his father, about whom he told the greatest lie of his life. And this, we see, is the Wright of many other neglected aspects of his story: his close, and perhaps romantic, relationship with friend and early mentor Cecil Corwin; the eerie, unmistakable role of fires in his life; the connection between the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 and the murder of his mistress, her two children, and four others at his beloved Wisconsin home by a black servant gone mad. In showing us Wright’s facades along with their cracks, Hendrickson helps us form a fresh, deep, and more human understanding of the man. With prodigious research, unique vision, and his ability to make sense of a life in ways at once unexpected, poetic, and undeniably brilliant, he has given us the defining book on Wright.

About CHARLESTON FANCY

A captivating chronicle of building in modern-day Charleston, making a case for architecture based on historical precedent, local context, and the ability to delight

Charleston, South Carolina, which boasts America’s first historic district, is known for its palmetto-lined streets and picturesque houses. The Holy City, named for its profusion of churches, exudes an irresistible charm. Award-winning author and cultural critic Witold Rybczynski unfolds a series of stories about a group of youthful architects, builders, and developers based in Charleston: a self-taught home builder, an Air Force pilot, a fledgling architect, and a bluegrass mandolin player.

Beginning in the 1980s, this cast of characters, exercising a kind of amateur mastery, produced an eclectic array of buildings inspired by the past—including a domed Byzantine drawing room, a fanciful medieval castle, a restored freedman’s cottage, a miniature Palladian villa, and a contemporary Mediterranean street. In his careful profiles of these protagonists and the challenges they have overcome in realizing their dreams, Rybczynski compellingly emphasizes the importance of architecture and urban design on a local level, how an old city can remake itself by invention as well as replication, and the role that individuals still play in transforming the urban landscapes around them.

About THE AUTHORS

PAUL HENDRICKSON is the author of the New York Times best seller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, and Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its Legacy, which won the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award. Since 1998 he has been on the faculty of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania. For two decades before that, he was a staff writer at The Washington Post. Among his other books are Looking for the Light: The Hidden Life and Art of Marion Post Wolcott (1992 finalist for the NBCC award) and The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War (1996 finalist for the National Book Award). He has been the recipient of writing fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lyndhurst Foundation, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation. In 2009 he was a joint visiting professor of documentary practice at Duke University and of American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the father of two grown sons, both of whom work in media, and he lives with his wife, Cecilia, a retired nurse, in Washington, D.C., and outside Philadelphia. (Photo: Tim Samuelson)

WITOLD RYBCZYNSKI, of Polish parentage, was born in Edinburgh, raised in London, and attended Jesuit schools in England and Canada. He studied architecture at McGill University in Montreal, where he also taught; he is currently emeritus professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania. His architectural experience has included designing houses as a registered architect, as well as researching low-cost housing for which he received a 1991 Progressive Architecture award. In 1993, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and he has received honorary doctorates from McGill University and the University of Western Ontario. In 2007, he received the Vincent Scully Prize, the Seaside Prize, and the Institute Collaborative Honors from the AIA. He served on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts from 2004 to 2012. He is currently a jury member of the Driehaus Prize in Classical Architecture.

Rybczynski has been described as “one of our most original, accessible, and stimulating writers on architecture” by Library Journal. He has written eighteen books on subjects as varied as the evolution of comfort, a history of the weekend, American urbanism, the development of a new community, and a search for the origins of the screwdriver. Home has been translated into ten languages, and was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Prize, while A Clearing in the Distance, a biography of Frederick Law Olmsted, received the J. Anthony Lukas Prize, a Christopher Award, a Philadelphia Athenæum literary award, and was shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction.

His essays appear regularly in Architect and The New York Times, and he has written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books. In 2014, he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. He has been architecture critic for Saturday Night, Wigwag, and Slate. His latest book is Charleston Fancy: Little Houses and Big Dreams in the Holy City. In 2014, Rybczynski received the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Design Mind.

Witold Rybczynski lives with his wife Shirley Hallam in Philadelphia. Website: http://www.witoldrybczynski.com (Photo: David Graham)


 
Event date: 
Monday, November 18, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780385353656
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - October 1st, 2019

Charleston Fancy: Little Houses and Big Dreams in the Holy City Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780300229073
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yale University Press - May 28th, 2019