Circle in Square

The Weekly Wright-up had a post when I was gone on Wright’s use of the circle-in-square motif in his buildings, particularly the Martin House un Buffalo.

Not mentioned in the post is the most famous, and arguably most adept, use of the circle-in-square in architecture: the traditional Greek Orthodox church, including the most famous example, Hagia Sofia in Constantinople. In the Byzantine world, the motif had a profound theological meaning (though for the Byzantines, everything had a profound theological meaning).

Shortly before Wright designed the Marin House, Louis Sullivan completed the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago). Wright, late in his career, designed his own Greek Orthodox church, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Though there’s a lot more circle than square in the building, Wright is clearly referencing the traditional forms. Olgivanna Wright, from Montenegro (and as devotee to the Armenian mystic Gurdjieff and by her first marriage to a Russian architect) , would have been intimately familiar with the both the form and the symbolism of the circle in square.