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May 30, 2017

The Center for Architecture is pleased to announce the opening of Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia on Thursday, June 22, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Curated by Lynnette Widder, Lecturer in Discipline, Sustainability Management, at Columbia University, and designed by Studio Joseph, the exhibition presents the houses by Japanese American architect and Taliesin fellow Kaneji Domoto in Westchester County’s Usonia, a national historic district.

The community of Usonia in Pleasantville, founded in 1944, 35 miles north of New York City, is the only fully realized example of Wright’s vision for an exurban United States and a unique example of what it meant to design, and live, within Wright’s millieu. Wright designed the site plan and served on the building committee, defining the architectural style for the community. He eventually built three of the cooperative’s 47 homes. Five of the remaining houses in Usonia were designed by Kaneji Domoto, who used the houses to translate Wright’s idiom into low-cost construction.

Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia follows Domoto as an independent architect working in midcentury America, from his time at Taliesin, to his experiences in a Japanese internment camp in the southwest, to his work in Usonia and beyond. Through construction documents and original photography of his five Pleasantville houses, the exhibition explores Domoto’s architectural style, his references to Japanese design, and his connection to landscape architecture. Widder dives deep into the Lurie House, tracing the history of the home from construction, through the lives of the original occupants, and to Widder’s subsequent renovation and restoration.

Featuring material from private archives never-before shown publicly, the drawings, artifacts, models, letters, and photographs exhibited show how Domoto’s work applied Wrightian idiom and provide a glimpse at life in Frank Lloyd Wright’s inner circles. A site model of the Usonia community, custom-built by students at the Rhode Island School of Design, and furniture by Smilow Design, a company with roots in Usonia, will also be on display. The exhibition will also feature rare video interviews with Usonia residents, projected within an intimate subterranean gallery using the Portable Ultra Short Throw Projector from Sony Life Space UX.


Opening Reception
Thursday, June 22, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Mid-Century Japanese American Designers
Monday, July 10, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Speakers include: Lynnette Widder, Lecturer in Discipline, Sustainability Management, at Columbia University; Ken Tadashi Oshima, Professor, Department of Architecture, Washington University

Exploring Usonia (Site Tour)
Saturday, July 22, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Meeting at the Center for Architecture, a small group will travel from NYC to Pleasantville for a walking tour of Usonia focusing on the five Domoto houses and including visits with residents.


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