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Frank Lloyd Wright

Broadacre City Analysis by: Nina Mathiesen, Rikke Liv Pedersen, Frederik Lyng, Mathias Bagger Poulsen, Johanne Rønsholt, Rikke Sjelborg, Ove Christensen, Nina Andersen.

Facts Broadacre City Frank Lloyd Wright (and “the Taliesin Fellowship), american, 1934-1935. Broadacre City was conceived as an ideal for “the American city of the future”. It can be seen as an accept of the fact that people increasingly are becoming individualists. This individualoriented ideology results in a consistent dissolution of the city as we know it. Completely decentralized. The centre is so to speak the individual home. The public and commercial spaces is integrated in the fabric of the private land and dwellings. The ideal is a liberated society, by means of which Wright also considers socio-political subjects. The method is a redistribution of land; every (working) family is allotted one acre (4000 m2) of land by the state. Hereby the people are reunited with ground. The landscape becomes the city-architecture. “The city is going to the country (…) it is not “classic”. It is organic,” Wright wrote, as an encounter with a traditional planning tradition. (1) The idea of redistribution, and “quality for all”, can easily be confused with a socialistic or even communistic ideology. But such a direct comparison would be a mistake. Wright formulates a more liberalistic ideal: “Broadacre City is “capitalism” carried out to a humane conclusion, its base broadened, and placed firmly on the ground. In the new city every man is an actual capitalist (1) A letter from Wright to Mies van der Rohe explaining Broadacre City. (Frank Lloyd Wright ”Collected writings volume 4 (1939-1949)”, p. 51) (2) In a reply to the Mayor of Pittsburgh, 1935. (Frank Lloyd Wright, ”Collected writings volume 4 (1939-1949)”, p. 64) (3) Ibid. p 64.

Facts with his feet on the ground. (…) Broadacre City is Organic Capitalism.” (2) And the absolute rejection of socialism appears in the statement “Broadacres’ citizens who won’t work shall starve.” (3) As a prerequisite for the existence of Wrights ideal-society is above all the automobile (and the helicopter). This, at the time relatively new, technological invention is going to carry out the decentralization of the city and liberation of man. This is the diametrically opposed to the idea of transit-oriented design. To exemplify Broadacre City, Wright developed a series of hypothetical typologies or prototypes, such as ”Standardized Overhead Service Station, ”Steel House”, ”Roadside Market”, and above all the “Usonian houses”. Many of these ideas that are presented in the idealmodel have become realised and common in the contemporary fabric of the city – the shopping mall only accessible by car, the highway motel, the service station, and the general tendency towards decentralization. Thus Broadacre City is becoming relevant today, and it is possible to draw parallels between this, what Bruegman calls “Ex-urbia” and Garreaus “Edge City”.

(1) A letter from Wright to Mies van der Rohe explaining Broadacre City. (Frank Lloyd Wright ”Collected writings volume 4 (1939-1949)”, p. 51) (2) In a reply to the Mayor of Pittsburgh, 1935. (Frank Lloyd Wright, ”Collected writings volume 4 (1939-1949)”, p. 64) (3) Ibid. p 64

Broadacre city


The Buildspace of Broadacre City In spite of the individual-oriented ideology Broadacre City is build up in a very strict system Big houses here, small houses there and all north / south orientated

Negative space

The Negative space of Broadacre City The space between the buildings i Broadacre City is huge compared to the amount om buildspace Every family has got at least 4000 m2 of property, wich makes it easy to feel alone in the midle of the city


The roads follow the landscape. Where it is flat - straight and ortogonal roads. Where it is cuved - the roads curve with the landscape.

Productive Landscape

The productive landscape consists of farms and small industry. Is mainly positioned near the main traffic vein.

Recreative Landscape

The recreative landscape consists of green areas, mostly in relation to water. One could argue that the entire area is part of the recreative landscape considering Wright’s thoughts on the visual qualities of the wide open spaces.

Road structure

Broadacre City diffirents levels of transportation

Intersection system Upper road level

Middle road level

Lowest road level

The infrastructure works in levels. The pedestrian is safe because of the curbs. Their are no traffic ligths, no left turns. Instead, intersections where roads act in levels.

Building Programme 2 square miles

Recreative landscape

2 square miles

Minimum, medium and larger housing Industry Little farms Institutions Main infrastructure

The model is an example of a typical american landscape. Here the broadacre City i layed out suited to this particular place. The model and the building programme is therefore not scheme but an example.


12 %

25 %

Recreative landscape Minimum, medium and larger housing

15 %

Industry Little farms

12 %

14 %

Institutions Main infrastructure

22 %

The distribution of the land is shared almost equally between the different zones. It is remarcable how much space the roads take up.

Principle of Organization




Each family gets an acre. The acres are spread out on the countryside along with industry, recrational zones, institutions etc.

Principle of Organization

Eventhough the layout of the city seems quite uniform, the acre gives a large amount of freedom. The acre is the family’ s domain where they can build and grow whatever they want.

Principles of Organization

The fabric of Broadacre city can and will be spread all over the United State and the population will return to the natural way of living. “So we have made provision for the people who have been divorced from nature by excessive urban idealism and parasitic living.� Frank Lloyd Wright: The New Frontier: Broadacre City, s. 52

Plot Ratio

One family: 1 acre One acre = 4046,9 m2 One familyhouse: 140 m2  => Footprint = (140 m2 / 4046,9 m2 ) * 100% = Plot ratio = (140 m2 / 4049,9 m2) * 100% =

1,9% 1,9%

Plot ratio and footprint is about the same m2 since nearly every building is one story. Total footprint area: 4 square miles = 10.359.952,4 m2 contains 1400 families 1,9% of 4 Square Miles ( 10.359.952,4 m2) =

196839,1 m2

5 or more acres per family Families: in one-car house, a two-car house, a three-car house and a five-car house. It is estimated that the total building area is equal to or larger than that of the area of the footprint. Source: The new frontier: Broadacre city

Explanation - Realtionship between City and Landscape

The Fabric is capable of extending in all directions. Illustrating the similarity of the Fabric and the Fabric city

Understanding the city landscape: Broardacre City is a continuous fabric-city with an integration of public and commercial spaces within the fabric of private land and dwellings

Realtionship between City and Landscape


Caption:. Brodacre city landscape is “a fresh and vitally humanized landscape” and is “ in harmony with nature but is not “naturalistic”” (p. 56) Source: The new frontiers: Brodadacre city


The density is greatest in the middle of the area, which in the exemplification is zoned for residential use. The western edge contains industry and farms. To the east multiple public institutions are located.

Broadacre city

Broadacre City - Frank Lloyd Wright  
Broadacre City - Frank Lloyd Wright  

Analysis by: Nina Mathiesen, Rikke Liv Pedersen, Frederik Lyng, Mathias Bagger Poulsen, Johanne Rønsholt, Rikke Sjelborg, Ove Christensen, N...