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Grant number like: RZ-50309-04

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Mina Marefat
Georgetown University (Washington, DC 20057-0001)

Collaborative Research
Research Programs

$100,000 (approved)
$100,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2004 – 1/31/2007

Frank Lloyd Wright's Middle Eastern Legacy

A Study of Frank Lloyd Wright's urban plan for the city of Baghdad (12 months)

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), arguably America's most celebrated architect, designed an elaborate large-scale urban plan for the city of Baghdad just two years before his death. Dismissed by most scholars and historians as phantasmagoric, this forgotten project provides unusual insight into the urban design principles and architectural oeuvre of this American icon of modern design when he was faced with the culturally rich setting of the ancient city which he considered the cradle of civilization. The proposed study expands on previous published research "Wright's Baghdad" by Mina Marefat in Anthony Alofsin's Frank Lloyd Wright Europe and Beyond-the first serious analysis of this project to date. It brings together these same architectural historians and Wright specialists once again to now create a definitive volume dedicated just to this highly important project and to its ensuing legacy in the Middle East. Wright's design concepts from Baghdad were extended to Tehran by his successor firm, Taliesin Associates, whose involvement in Iran ensured the firm's survival for twenty years. The end product of this NEH Collaborative Grant is a scholarly manuscript of previously inaccessible material that will contribute to the critical apparatus of American architectural history and to the larger theme of cultural studies in the humanities. It will shed new light on current Wright research, and open new perspectives on culturally conscious design.