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Broadacre City de Frank Lloyd Wright: L'utopie d'une Amérique agraire et anti-urbaine

Claude MASSU
Revue française d'études américaines
No. 11, LA VILLE DANS LA CULTURE AMÉRICAINE / The City in American Life and Literature (Avril 81), pp. 55-65
Published by: Editions Belin
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20872815
Page Count: 11
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Broadacre City de Frank Lloyd Wright: L'utopie d'une Amérique agraire et anti-urbaine
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Abstract

Lorsque l'architecte Frank Lloyd Wright expose la maquette de Broadacre City à New-York en 1935, il propose certes un remède pour faire sortir les Etats-Unis de la crise économique. Mais son projet de ville n'est pas seulement une réponse ponctuelle à la grande dépression. Wright n'a pas cessé de s'intéresser aux problèmes de l'urbanisme, comme en témoignent trois livres publiés sur ce sujet à des moments différents de sa longue vie. Son projet s'inscrit en fait dans un courant de décentralisation agraire et anti-urbaine qui remonte aux origines de la nation américaine. Frank Lloyd Wright revendique l'héritage de la culture radicale. De ce point de vue, son modèle de ville est un retour à certains idéaux fondateurs du XVIIIe siècle. Mais en même temps, il interprète la tradition radicale et lui ôte une grande part de sa portée révolutionnaire. D'où les ambiguités, voire les incohérences de son projet. As an anti-urban utopia, Broadacre City was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1930s with a view to eliminate the man-made chaos of the big American cities. The scheme is deeply rooted in the American sense of space and mobility and based on the latest technological advances in communication and architectural standardization. In it, Wright poured a comprehensive view of American history which has supposedly drifted away from the democratic ideals of the American Revolution. With decentralization as its major theme, it is held to be part of the radical tradition, particularly the Jeffersonian vision of an agrarian economy. In fact, the project is devoid of any political proposal and shows that Wright interpreted the American democracy in terms of privately oriented happiness. The ambiguities of the model both forward looking and imbued with a nineteenth-century conception of individualism point to a sort of American « bad conscience », a recurrent historical theme underlying the relationships between intellectuals and the city in the United States.

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