Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia
Intro lesson Houses
H.G. Wells was referencing the Utopia described in Thomas More’s book about a perfect land where society had solutions to all its problems. There are no locks on the doors and people trade houses every ten years. In the real world things don’t work that way but it doesn’t stop us from trying to improve our own places: our city, our neighborhoods, our houses. Houses, especially, can make a big impact on our lives. One of the most important architects of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright, built a private residence for a client here in Rochester based on his own ideals of what made a perfect place.
Word of the Day utopia (Gk ou- not + topos place). “Utopia” was first used in the book Utopia (1516) by Thomas More to describe a perfect place and he made a point of defining it as “no place.”
Our first stop was the Boynton house, which is the only structure by Frank Lloyd Wright in Rochester and the eastern-most of his homes designed in what’s now known as the “Prairie School” style. Although Wright did not use this term himself, the Boynton house exemplifies many of the elements of this style that was meant to evoke the wide open space of the American Midwest, a rejection of industrialization and a harmony with the landscape: horizontal lines, open floor plans, overhanging eaves, rows of window, and indigenous materials.
Frank Lloyd Wright had particular ideas about design, but just as there is no Utopia, there is no perfect house either. Houses are very personal and each of us will appreciate different styles. We rode to Birch Crescent (which currently has but one birch tree to its credit) to take photos of our favorite houses and we discussed what each of us values in a house.
Other Points of Interest
We set out along the eastern shore of the Genesee that traverses the University of Rochester’s River Campus; near Birch Crescent we passed the Boody Tract along the eponymous University Street where the university used to be located. We detoured to see the preserved remains of St. Joseph’s Church which is now a park that is, unfortunately, closed to the public. Shawn gave us an impromptu tour of the Village Gate where he used to live shortly after it was converted to apartments. Nearby is the “legal wall,” still dense with graffiti but now closed to the public for an unknown reason.
Special thanks to Andy and Dan for coming out on their respective first rides.
Our first trip was on October 30, 2010
Trip distance: 12.1 miles
Participants: Cary Bedell, Quinton Bedell, Davontay Bradley, Arie Buckhalter, Marquise “Duke” Kiner, Kenyan McGahee, Johnathan Shellman, and Cam Smith
Leaders: Shawn Brown, Cappy Collins, Dan King, Marc Lavender, Andy Sherman, Reggie Smith