The surviving traghetti gondola ferries relied on heavy public subsidies, for the cost of building and maintaining the boats had become almost prohibitive. At the same time there was a strong sense of the need to preserve the fabric of the city. After all, its unique townscape enshrines the memory of Venice’s former greatness. In the next few decades, fund-raising campaigns on an international scale financed the restoration of many notable architectural monuments. Rigid planning controls now forbade visible alterations to historic buildings, and the authorities could even force owners to remove extra storeys added without permission. In one conspicuous instance, however, planning restrictions prevented the erection of what might well have been the finest example of twentieth-century architecture in the city. In 1953 America’s greatest architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, was commissioned to build the so-called Masieri Memorial House, a centre for foreign architectural students on the Grand Canal between the Palazzo Balbi and the mouth of the Rio di Ca’ Foscari fig. 174. 45 Wright was by this time already in his eighties he died in 1959 at the age of 92.