We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Frank Lloyd Wright had some nutty ideas about domestic comfort in the houses he designed for rich Americans, but he knew how to treat a worker. Wright’s Larkin Administration Building, built in 1904 in Buffalo, N.Y., now exists only in photographs and memory, but its innovations live on in every open-plan, “nonhierarchical” workplace in the world. The five-story Larkin Building, which Wright called “a simple cliff of brick hermetically sealed,” was among the first in the States to have air conditioning, glass doors, and natural lighting. And it was probably one of the few workplaces anywhere to incorporate a 146-stop Moller concert organ for weekly lunchtime concerts. It takes a leap of bad faith to believe the building was torn down in the ’50s, but there you have it. Now, Earl Mark, a professor in the architecture department at the University of Virginia, has rebuilt the structure on his computer; he is presenting his digital Wright edifice tonight as part of the “On the Job: Design and the American Office” show at 6:30 p.m. at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. $12. For reservations call (202) 272-2448. (Bradford McKee)