News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

OA+D Publishes “William Wesley Peters: The Evolution of a Creative Force”

Eric O'Malley | Jul 12, 2018

Organic Architecture + Design Archives book celebrates the creativity and designs of Frank Lloyd Wright’s apprentice and son-in-law, Wes Peters.

In 2014, my colleagues and I at the Organic Architecture + Design Archives (OA+D) discovered a long-dormant book project celebrating the creativity of Taliesin Apprentice and Frank Lloyd Wright’s son-in-law William Wesley Peters’ Box Projects.

OA+D, a non-profit organization founded with the mission of preserving and presenting the work of organic architects and designers, focuses heavily on the work of the Taliesin Fellowship. So Wes’s son, Brandoch Peters, had decided to generously donate his father’s Box Projects to the organization. When we learned from our friend and Taliesin Apprentice, John Amarantides, that he had designed and developed a book project almost 30 years ago showcasing these creatively dynamic works, we leapt at the opportunity to bring it to life.

The result is a stunning limited edition oversized hardcover art book that is the first dedicated solely to William Wesley Peters’s work. I can think of no better way to encapsulate the spirit of what makes this publication special than to share a portion of John Amarantides’s own words from the book’s Afterword.

All who knew the work of William Wesley Peters realized that time was past due to begin its documentation. And yet there was no action in this direction until after his death. His son, Brandoch, showed the Box Projects to two people as he gathered his father’s effects. He had forgotten the excitement of these projects, not having seen them for some twenty years. He approached David Dodge, and me, about making a book of them.

The wonderment evoked by the powerfully imaginative projects – each one presenting a new design idea – motivated us to begin compiling materials for a publication dedicated to the work of William Wesley Peters. This is the inaugural. It is hoped subsequent volumes will present his architectural and formidable structural engineering work for and with Frank Lloyd Wright, and finally Wes’s own buildings and projects.

As an apprentice at Taliesin beginning in 1951, I worked with both Wes and our great master, Frank Lloyd Wright. Mr. Wright cast such a giant shadow that even a forceful personality like Wes was obscured in its shade. I was able to see what enormously capable people Mr. Wright had around him, and of these people, no one could take Wes’s place in the great projects that evolved during my apprenticeship. He was a man of genius capacity, who devoted his life and subjugated his career to Frank Lloyd Wright. I feel honored to be involved in presenting this “first performance” of William Wesley Peters in architectural publication.

Wes was a giant of a man. In every way. A Titan. Grandiose and generous in all things. Format proportions recognize this in our effort to reproduce the drawings as near to actual size as practical.

In designing this book, I was inspired by the spirit of Eugene Masselink, whose untimely death at age fifty-one took such a fine artist and mentor from me and from all of us at Taliesin. Gene was Wes’s closest friend. He would have done this book had he been with us. I hope a degree of his design sensibility has touched the effort.

This is to and for Wes. A gesture of the deepest gratitude for extending himself with the generosity of his intellect, experience, and wisdom, as well as wit and humor, not only to those of us close to him but to all he came in contact with.

Recognizing the far-reaching imaginative impact of these early “gifts,” it is hoped that their exposure in this volume will allow a glimpse into the grand and exciting world of our great friend, William Wesley Peters.

 – John Amarantides, Athens, Greece

William Wesley Peters: The Evolution of a Creative Force

Hardcover :: 86 pages :: 10″ x 13″ :: LIMITED EDITION

Editor Emeritus John DeKoven Hill.

With text by John C. Amarantides, David E. Dodge, Aaron G. Green, John DeKoven Hill, and William B. Scott, Jr.