I am at the home and school of architect Frank Lloyd Wright here in Scottsdale, Arizona. I meant to visit for a very long time. Upon learning that Dale Chiuly is exhibiting, I know this is the time to go. After six months on display, I made it on the final week of Chiuly and live tours.
Our guide sheds light on life at Taliesin West: FLW bought the over 100 acres of desert property in the middle of nowhere. (Today it sits conveniently off of highway 101 in northeast Scottsdale.) They sourced local rock out of the mountain to build. When they found petroglyphs, it encouraged them knowing that OTHER people survived here too!
Rock and cement make up the walls of all the structures. In the early days, the buildings are covered in canvas, secured with a redwood frame. Over time, different woods and eventually metal is incorporated in the structures. Open windows and organic shapes allow air to flow through (and also critters.) Eventually glass windows, electricity and even air conditioning were brought in.
When power lines went up across the landscape, it upset FLW so much that he declared he would NEVER look THAT way again, instead turning his attention back towards his land and the mountains behind. He added walls to the living room and built his wife a whole new tea garden.
Apprentices build their own structure on the back part of the land. There are three people who still live there today in lifelong fellowship!
Taliesin is beautifully unassuming; it melds into the mountains all around it. I am impressed by the accomplishments of all who made the place what it is and contributed to it’s legacy.
Check out my photos and see if there’s a FLW structure in your area to visit!
The day after my tour, Frank Lloyd Wright is still showing up in surprising ways. In the morning on TV, there is mention of a FLW house in Charleston.
I go to an appointment at noon. My client’s house is in the same area of Taliesin and she has six wind chimes that perfectly match the ones in the gift shop. When I go inside, she tells me that her property backs up to FLW property!
On my way to the deli after, I see a guy walking down the street looking and dressing like the tour guide- hat, glasses, facial hair, colorful shirt, shorts, kicks, water bottle. It wasn’t perfect- no yellow Converse- but evoked his image. Can’t wait to go back for another visit!