Novelty is Mistaken for Progress

Frank Lloyd Wright? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright was critical of the new buildings he saw in cities. Apparently, he said:

Novelty is mistaken for Progress.

Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1955 Frank Lloyd Wright published an essay titled “The Future of the City” in “The Saturday Review”. He felt that the existing configurations of cities were constraining the visions of planners and architects: 1

But sponsors of the modern city, first founded by Cain (the murderer of his brother), refuse to consider fundamental and human alteration in the city’s structure because of our gigantic “investment” in the city as it is. And so the Machine Age has not liberated us.

The phrase about novelty and progress was posed as a rhetorical question. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:

We are imprisoned: witness the new buildings on our city streets. Isn’t it true to say that—in these buildings—Novelty is mistaken for Progress? Of steel and glass we have aplenty; but what of the imaginative and creative powers which make of these glittering materials structures responsive to the needs of the Human Individual? What of Real Sun, Real Air, Real Leisure?

This article ends with one more citation.

Wright’s remarks sparked the interest of James Beasley Simpson who included them in his compilation “Best Quotes of ’54 ’55 ’56”. But Simpson omitted the question mark: 2

“. . . Novelty is mistaken for Progress. Of steel and glass we have aplenty; but what of the imaginative and creative powers which makes of these glittering materials structures responsible to the needs of the Human Individual? What of Real Sun, Real Air, Real Leisure?”
Frank Lloyd Wright, “The Future of the City,” Saturday Review,
May 21, 1955.

Notes:

  1. 1955 May 21, The Saturday Review, The Future of the City by Frank Lloyd Wright, Start Page 10, Quote Page 10, Column 1 and 2, Saturday Review Associates, New York. (Unz)
  2. 1957, Best Quotes of ’54 ’55 ’56, Compiled by James Beasley Simpson, Section: Personalities, Quote Page 190, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York. (Verified on paper)