This steamy novel by Ayn Rand
is often panned by literary critics, but the rousing story dramatizes issues in design and brings architecture to life. The hero of the tale, Howard Roark, was molded after the larger-than-life American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
Architecture as Drama
Never mind that Ayn Rand's 1943 potboiler, The Fountainhead
, is pure schlock. From the opening scene when rebel architect Howard Roark stands naked on a cliff, to the triumphant conclusion when the insufferably arrogant hero stands atop the building he fought to build, the story is maddeningly irresistible.
Howard Roark may be made of cardboard, but - hey! He defies those stuffed shirts and spineless wimps who think they want buildings that resemble masterworks from the past. What do they know?
"I don't intend to build in order to have clients," Roark tells the dean who expels him from architecture school. "I intend to have clients in order to build."
When I was sixteen, I cheered. Now I'd like to give that young upstart a spanking. Either way, The Fountainhead is a rousing good read.