A masterpiece by a very young Frank Lloyd Wright, so revolutionary that the critics needed some time to understand the impact implied by his proposal, today the Larkin Administration Building rightly occupies a place of honor in the history of modern architecture for its technical, aesthetic, and social advances. While some of its ideas seem strange today, such as the organ in the middle of the atrium and the desks with built-in chairs, others have become part of the architectural landscape that surrounds us in the workplace, such as the glass doors, the open-plan work spaces, and the closed, climate-controlled environment.
The end of a legend
The building had almost a 50-year lifespan, lasting until the company that constructed it, the Larkin Soap Company, dissolved. After a time during which no permanent occupant for the building could be found, in 1950 it was decided to demolish it, something that today would be unthinkable. Despite lasting nearly half a century, hardly any high-quality photographs remain that would allow us to admire the architecture, and of the few that do exist, none are in color.
The daunting but exhilarating task
To recreate this building in the images that can be seen here took no less than 8 months of work in my scarce free time. But all this time was needed, not only because of the difficulty of modeling a building of this size, with its intricate details of statuary and furnishings, but also because I needed that time to acquire the technical knowledge necessary to accomplish the task.
But here is the result, which as far as I know is the first time anyone has recreated this building in photorealistic form and in color, a step necessary in order to return to this masterpiece some of the life and magic that it had in its day, and in any case a declaration of my love for an inimitable architecture.
The building was modeled and rendered in AutoCAD, 3ds Max, and V-Ray.
The car is a model of the era purchased in TurboSquid, the materials of which I had to adapt for V-Ray.
The vegetation makes use of Forest Pack, and I also utilized RailClone for some repetitive elements such as the furniture and capitals.
The recreation of the sculptures was particularly complex; for this I used the software ZBrush.
For the skies I used 2 Peter Guthrie skies: 0902 Overcast and 1941 Dusk blue
The complete set of images can be found here.