Read the section below and write an architectural critique by comparing two different buildings of your choice.
Frank Lloyd Wright had the notion of movement through his architecture always in mind. His characteristic low entrances were intended to give us a sense of compression, to make the sensation as you move into a larger space beyond the entrance all the more dramatic. That is why you enter the Guggenheim Museum not directly into Wright’s extraordinary, seven-story-high rotunda but into a low vestibule, and only after that does Wright’s great space reveal itself.
Wright was nothing if not cinematic, and he designed always with an awareness of how people would move through his buildings and a desire to control that movement as best he could, like a director pacing the story as it unfolds. It is a lesson that General Meigs, architect of the Pension Building in Washington, never understood. The real problem with that space is that you pop right into it. There is no surprise, and nothing unfolds in stages. You go through the door, and then, boom—there you are, right under the 159-foot ceiling, with all that space sprawling out before you. “The beauty consists in how you move into the space,” Philip Johnson wrote, knowing more than Meigs. Johnson understood that we first experience architecture from afar, watch it change as we move closer, and have (if we are lucky) an experience of great drama as we move, step by step, into it. And then we see it in different ways again when we stand inside and move around within its spaces. Architecture reveals itself in stages as we move toward it, and then space unfolds in stages as we move within it.