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Monday, September 22, 2008

Frank Lloyd Wright and Taliesin West

One of the many wonderful places to visit here in Arizona is Taliesin West in Scottsdale. It was the winter home and school created by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

I first went to Taliesin West in May of 2006. My cousin and his family were visiting from the east and like me adore all things creative. This is my son and his darling cousin near the entrance.

Due to health reasons, Mr. Wright decided to create a school in the desert in 1937. The buildings were constructed by Wright's students of concrete and rock, continuing Wright's practice of creating organic architecture, meaning architecture that is in harmony with its natural surroundings. The rock was quarried locally and many of the stones have ancient petroglyphic images created by native Americans. Today such artifacts are protected.

Red was Mr. Wright's favorite color. He also had a great love for Asian design and decor. This love was probably developed during his extensive travels that began in 1909 when he eloped to Europe with Martha "Mamah" Borthwick, the wife of a client. He left behind his own wife and six children. Indeed, Mr. Wright had quite the colorful personal life. The red door leads to the cabaret.

Inside the cabaret my cousin and I, eternal hams, posed for a picture with one of the many sculptures that dot the buildings and landscape.

A beautiful sculpture of a native American figure amongst the desert landscaping.

The front exterior of Taliesin. Wright, originally from Wisconsin, insisted upon a front lawn. There are several wells on the property, so water is plentiful enough to sustain the grass and fountains.

Approaching the front door to the Wright family home. I love the colorful glass globes in this sculpture.

The door itself is quite small. Wright did not believe in wasting space and many of the buildings contain fairly low ceilings and doorways.

To the left of the doorway is this oriental sculpture set into the concrete. Wright bought a total of 12 various sculptures from a department store. It can become quite a game to locate all twelve pieces placed throughout the property.

This was a photo from my recent trip to Taliesin West. I went with Mr. Decor who had never had the opportunity to see the site. I am sitting in a Taliesin West wing chair. It was over 110 degrees that day and the glass ceilings (which were once made of canvas) made this room feel like a greenhouse.

Mr. Wright and his third wife Olgivanna loved to entertain. They always made sure to have enough seating. Mr. Decor appears relaxed enough.

In the family's personal sitting area is a colorful panel featuring an Asian scene.

This is part of the enclosed courtyard garden near the family's bedrooms. Isn't the round gate built into the stone wall wonderful?

I adore this Sprite sculpture. It was was originally created by Wright for Midway Gardens in Chicago 1913~1914. You can buy a copy through the FLW foundation.

A desk in Mr. Wrights personal quarters. Notice the large fireplace. There are several fireplaces located throughout the property.

All in all a fairly humble master bedroom for a design genius.

Would you care to shower in the aluminum bathroom?

Another interior courtyard.

This was once the fire bell. It now announces mealtimes and other meeting events for the students who still live and learn on the property. (Did you happen to notice another sculpture?)

Here is more information on this site, as well as the many other Frank Lloyd Wright sites, his continuing school of architecture and foundation. I hope you will be able to visit this wonderfully creative complex that is featured in Patricia Schultz book "1,000 Places to See Before You Die".
Last week's quote:

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." ~ George Eliot


Bella Casa said...

I have been to Falling Water in PA. At the time, I was very young and on a river rafting trip with one wanted to go except me. So, I went by myself! So, early on, I had a love for all things 'home'. I have also loved his work ever since then, too. I hope I can visit more of his buildings in the future. That pod office in WI, I think it is...the Johnson and Johnson building? (going by memory here, lol) definitely one I would love to see one day, too. Rumor has it, there is a FLW home on my street! But you cannot see if from the street...I hope to one day get a peek in there...boy that would be awesome, I should really try to figure out a way to do that :)

Thanks for the tour of his AZ home, I had no idea about his personal life, lol.

Bella :)

Liz said...

OMGOSH! I can't believe I have lived here all these years and have never been out to see this!
Very cool! Thanks for sharing your trip.


It is much more simple than I thought it would be....

Miss Sandy said...

Thanks for another fascinating tour and lesson. I admire Mr. Wright's designs very much.

Thank you for your sweet comment on my little bird. I do consider it high praise indeed to be mentioned in the same sentence as Sandra, although my work in no way compares with hers. I am a fan of hers and follow her blog also.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Mimi Sue said...

My Dad had a friend who worked in a Frank Lloyd Wright designed office building. It was gorgeous. Built out over a creek, large fireplace in the lobby, quirky doors and windows, but no utility closet. The custodian had to keep his cleaning supplies in an empty extra room...Genius...Mimi

The Berry's Patch said...

Can you believe I used to live right there on Frank Lloyd Wright and Thunderbird and never stepped foot into Taliesin West. Silly me. I like his architecture a lot. In fact, my husbands parents live in a FLW inspired house in Washington state. They are thinking of selling it. I tried to talk them out of it but they are sick of the rain. :-)

Melissa said...

How magnificent!

I am so proud of you, that you are back in school at age 40 years young.

I admire you.


Meredith Teagarden said...

Thanks for sharing the tour! This is the only traveling I will do this year, cyberspace tours :)!

Charli and me said...

That was so interesting! Thank you so much for sharing.

Lisa Renee said...

I've never seen this FLW work! I guess I'm only familiar with the really famous ones, like falling water and such. But this is cool! I love he always uses the red, reminiscent of Asia, to pop out from the organic background.

Elizabeth said...

I have done research on many of FLW's homes and buildings, but I was unaware of how many sculptures Taliesin West has! Just the artwork could be a day trip!

Her Shabbiness said...

What great photos you have to share. The home is beautiful, as are all FLW creations.