Frank Lloyd Wright lives on here through the works of his former student, architect Robert Broward.
The basic elements of the so-called "prairie school of architecture" can be seen and appreciated by anyone who will look. The Dake house, for example, and the Unitarian-Universalist church are typical examples of what once was called "revolutionary" architecture by a conservative community.
Bob Broward is a relaxed, low-key person who is at peace with himself. He lives close to nature and has a reverence for it. From an early age he was influenced by Thoreau, Emerson and Jefferson and emulates their philosophies, both in his work and his personal life. He is, above all else, honest.
"I know who I am and what I can do with my own particular talents," he said. "I have no desire for fame or a big corporate image. My goal is to "celebrate life" through the medium of architecture which, to me, is the highest art form man can achieve.
"I do only work that I believe in; therefore, I'm free."
Bob Broward remembers his first meeting with Frank Lloyd Wright. The year was 1948.
"I was a student at Georgia Tech and had read about Mr. Wright at the public library in Atlanta," he recalled. "I was impressed by the scope of this human being and wrote him a letter. He wrote back and invited me to visit him for the Christmas holidays at Taliesen West in Arizona.
"After seeing pictures of the buildings there, I had expected everything to be larger than life. So I was disppointed when faced with reality.
"His first words to me were: 'How do you like it?' I replied, 'I think it's fantastic, but everything is so small.'
"Mr. Wright just chuckled and said nothing. He knew so much more than I did and was a master of scale. He knew how to relate a building to a human being. The photographs that I had seen of Taliesen were set against a desert landscape without trees or mountains in the background; therefore, there was no scale, so everything looked larger than it was.
"I went back to school to complete my senior year with new ideas and concepts learned from Mr. Wright," Bob Broward continued.
"Deeply influenced by him, I entered a design competition for a church for sharecroppers in Oak Mountain, Ga. Much to my surprise, I won. The design was not only chosen by the faculty, but when all the designs were submitted to the sharecroppers, they chose mine."
"Mind you, these were unsophisticated people from the old South, where churhes were always white frame and had a tall steeple. They selected my design because it looked as if it belonged on the mountain as a part of nature.
"The prize for winning was that the church would be built, using local labor, college students, and Quakers from the American Friends Field Service," he recalled.
Bob Broward said he went back to the commune at Taliesen as an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright and felt, for the first time, the importance of people working together and helping one another.
"We had to grow our own crops, cook our food and work on the buildings that were always under construction," he reported.
One of the project he worked on in the desert was called the "Sun Trap." It was a little house for Iovanna, Wright's daughter, who is a harpist. It was built of cast concrete and boulders with canvas and wood holding it all together.
It actually was one of the original solar houses as the sun filtered in for both light and heat.
"There isn't a single 'new' thing in architecture that Frank Lloyd Wright did not deal with and made some statement about," said Broward. "He was a warm human being. He would have been an earth shaker even if he were not an architect.
"I learned at Taliesen about the 'prairie school of architecture,' which orginated in Illinois. Wright and his great teacher, Louis Sullivan, came from there. It's referred to as 'organic architecture' and now I'm an extension of this in my own way.
"The idea was to build and design in a way that was expressive of the time and place in which we live," Bob Broward continued.
"In the early 1900s steel was being rolled. Sullivan was one of the first to realize that it was an 'honest' material and used it sensibly to build skyscrapers. He considered such tall buildings to be an art form, like any other."
Plate glass, wood and brick were used naturally and not covered over by anything that was considered phony. In Illinois, where the land is flat, Sullivan and Wright built houses that were low and wed to the ground. Attics and basements were eliminated and other, more practical, storage spaces were designed and utilized.
Glass was used intelligently, and unneccessary walls were taken away to make continuous, flowing spaces.
"Frank Lloyd Wright invented the carport," according to Broward, "and he took the cantilever and made it a principle of modern architecture. It was from the prairie school that he said he learned about the excitement of spaces and how to use them to best advantage.
In 1951, after he had finished his apprenticeship with Wright, he built a house in Atlanta which arched a creek. It jutted out of the side of a black granite hill and was one long, continuous room with sliding-glass walls.
Not long ago he designed a home for the Dake family here. The house, which many people think is unusual, is fitted between four live oak trees so the trees are a part of the house. The house if four stories high and is openly ventilated on all sides.
The hosue is built on a marsh swamp and Broward said he purposely designed it to resist both hurricanes and floods. The main living floors are above the ocean's flood plain and are anchored in concrete.
The house was designed in a crucible shape so that it can withstand high winds. CAPTION: Picture, This house in Maplewood, N.J., designed by architects of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, is on the market for $1.25 million. Sotheby Parke Bernet International Realty Corp.