Original printed blueprint, 56.5 x 18, of Wright’s design headed “Elevation from Lake Monona 1/32″= 1´-0″,” signed in brown ink, “F Ll W/56,” in a 1 x 1 square box shaded in red pencil. Blueprint shows the civic auditorium from Lake Monona, the fountain, and the top of the Madison State Capitol building can be seen in the distance. Rolled and in very good condition, with toning and some tape to edges from previous display (all of which could be easily matted out), scattered creases and wrinkles, and printing several shades light but still visible.
In 1938, Frank Lloyd Wright proposed a design for a civic auditorium that would link Lake Monona, surrounded on three sides by the city of Madison with the Wisconsin State Capitol building two blocks away. The proposal was defeated by one vote, but in the postwar economic boom of 1955, the city reconsidered and asked Wright to undertake the project. This stunning blueprint was completed in 1956, just one year before a state law would again bring the project to a halt; reducing the height of a lakefront building to 20 feet, the new law was considered by the mayor to be ‘a regrettable insult to Wisconsin’s most renowned living citizen,’ an evaluation with which Wright agreed, of course. In January of 1959, legislators passed a bill repealing the law and again turned to Wright—in the three final months of his life, he completed his last rendering of the building. After another 35 years of back-and-forth, the city of Madison finally began construction on Monona Terrace in 1994, completing its construction three years later, nearly sixty years after Wright’s original proposal. Blueprints from any of the legendary architect’s buildings are highly sought after—with its fascinating background story and high profile struggle to materialize, the Monona Terrace blueprint holds even greater appeal. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.