The Hotel del Coronado, opened back in 1888, was selected 18th in the AIA's survey of America's Favorite Architecture. Uploaded by wayfaring.info.
The “Hotel Del,” as it’s colloquially known, isn’t just one of Southern California’s inspired architectural masterpieces. It holds that honor for the entire country. The American Institute of Architects’ survey of America’s Favorite Architecture, placed this National Historic Landmark at number 18. That ranks higher than such national treasures at Monticello and any Frank Lloyd Wright creation.
The Hotel Del and Marilyn Monroe were both featured in Some Like it Hot. Uploaded by travel.latimes.com.
The Hotel Del, located in Coronado, California (just across the bay from San Diego), is one of the last surviving examples of the Victorian wooden beach resort. Built in 1888 from architect James Reid’s plan, it was at the time the largest resort hotel in the world. And it was the first to use electric lighting. In fact, Thomas Edison came out to supervise the installation of the hotel’s wiring.
Today, the mammoth property contains 680 rooms and suites, many of them beachfront. It offers many of the activities and luxuries you’d expect from a luxury resort named one of the Top 10 Resorts in the World by USA Today, and the number two best place in the world to get married by The Travel Channel.
Frank Lloyd Wright thought New York was a bad choice for the Guggenheim Museum. Too crowded, too many buildings for his masterpiece to stand out. But Mr. Guggenheim prevailed, and those who love NYC are delighted he did. Uploaded by fanpop.com.
Isn’t it odd how a unique building can divide people initially, then later be revered as one of the country’s greatest works of architecture? That’s the story of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, usually called The Guggenheim. It was Frank Lloyd Wright’s last major design, and it polarized the New York creative crowd. Several artists even signed a letter, saying their works couldn’t be properly displayed in such a limited space.
Uploaded by thedesignfiles.net.
There’s no question that this isn’t The Metropolitan Museum. Wright worked on the drawings for 15 years before settling on the design. Unfortunately, neither Mr. Guggenheim nor Mr. Wright survived to see the building open. When it entertained its first visitors in October, 1959, it transformed the block at 89th Street and 5th Avenue on which it’s situated. And the amazing thing is that it doesn’t look dated at all. It could have been created today, and been just as beautiful and startling as it did more than a half century ago.
But, as I said earlier, this success didn’t come without significant opposition. Many expressed concern that the building would overpower the art inside. Wright answered, “On the contrary, (the purpose) was to make the building and the painting an uninterrupted, beautiful symphony such as never existed in the World of Art before.”
It was the perfect marriage of client and architect. The Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh appreciated modern art and architecture, and owned a beautiful piece of property in the mountains. Frank Lloyd Wright loved nature, and this site with its waterfall was his perfect canvas.
The Kaufmanns thought their new vacation lodge would have a beautiful view of the waterfall. They were startled, looking at the plans, to find the falls were to be part of their home. They’re visible only from the top level, but the sound of rushing water is a constant reminder of Wright’s amazing design.
Frank Lloyd Wright created so many remarkable buildings that people disagree about his masterpiece. But the combination of organic design, exceptional innovation, and natural harmony makes Fallingwater my choice. It’s an undeniably great American thing.
Copyright 2009-2011, Robin G. Chalkley. All material on these pages, and the listing of items as Great American Things, is copyrighted. The exceptions are the photographs and videos, which remain the property of their respective owners.
Header photo used courtesy of Flickr photographer too melo.