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Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium by Frank Lloyd Wright

From the Guggenheim Museum 50th Anniversary Frank Lloyd Wright Exhibition


Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium in Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland

Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium in Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1924–25. This perspective was part of a 2009 exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum. Colored pencil on tracing paper, 20 x 31 inches.

FLLW FDN # 2505.039 © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona
In 1924, wealthy businessman Gordon Strong met with Frank Lloyd Wright to propose an ambitious scheme: On the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain in Maryland, build a scenic overlook that would "serve as an objective for short motor trips," especially from nearby Washington DC and Baltimore.

Gordon Strong wanted the building to be an impressive monument that would enhance visitors' enjoyment of the natural landscape. He even suggested that Wright place a dance hall at the center of the structure.

Frank Lloyd Wright began to sketch a spiralling roadway that mimicked the shape of the mountain. Instead of a dance hall, he placed a theater at the center. As plans progressed, the Automobile Objective turned into a great dome with a planetarium, surrounded by a ring-shaped natural history museum.

Gordon Strong rejected Frank Lloyd Wright's plans and the Automobile Objective was never built. However, Frank Lloyd Wright continued to work with hemicycle forms, which inspired the design of the Guggenheim Museum and other projects.

See more plans and sketches at the Library of Congress:
Gordon Strong Automobile Objective

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