When a building is lost to history, we are often forced to rely on blueprints and faded black-and-white photographs to piece together its appearance. But thanks to architect David Romero, a set of vanished buildings by starchitect Frank Lloyd Wright can be seen in full color and detail for the first time since their destruction.
Romero has meticulously reconstructed lifelike visualizations of the Larkin Administration Building and Rose Pauson House — recently, he also modeled the unbuilt Trinity Chapel. Each building is visible right down to their signature details and custom furnishings. Previously, limited views of these structures could be seen via plans or black-and-white photos.
To create these elaborate and photorealistic renderings, he modeled the structures in AutoCAD and 3ds Max, filling in finishing touches (textures, details, colors and light) with Vray and Photoshop. Brick, mortar, stone and wood are all convincingly conveyed in the snapshots derived from his models. Textures, fabrics and even plants look real.
His successes so far are just the beginning — and not necessarily limited to built works: “My project, Hooked On The Past,” Romero explains, “is devoted to recreate important buildings of our past which have been lost or are currently deeply damaged, as well as relevant architectural projects which were never materialized.”
Constructed in 1904, the Larkin featured an air-conditioning setup largely credited with being the first complete cooling system for an office space. It also featured unique interior open-plan approaches as well as elaborate detailing and an array of custom-designed fixtures.
The Pauson home is in many ways a classic example of Wright’s organic architecture. It used exposed wood and stone and strong horizontals to tie the structure into its surrounding landscape and featured arrays of windows designed to frame panoramic views of the Arizona desert.
The Larkin was demolished a few decades after its construction to make way for another structure that was never even built. The Pauson house burnt down in a fire in 1943, about a year after its completion.
Now, thanks to Romero, fans of FLW can see these structures as they stood during their lifetimes, inside and out, as well as the Trinity Chapel, an unbuilt work (shown below). Romero is also selling limited-edition fine art prints of many of these renderings.