Ever since my interior design classes at LDS Business College, I’ve been fascinated by Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. His design philosophy and the actual outcomes intrigued me. I found the simplicity, cohesion and purpose of everything beautiful. So, it would be safe to bet that one item on my bucket list is to appreciate Frank’s masterpieces in person, and it is.
Prior to moving to Scottsdale, which I did just over a month ago, I had only been to two buildings he designed, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the ASU Gammage originally meant for Baghdad, and around some rooms he created, rooms that were relocated to the Met also in NYC. When I was en route to work in Chicago, I investigated how to visit his home there, but when that fell through it became just a dream. I even applied to work with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at one time as an intern or something.
At the Guggenheim I was treated to a retrospective exhibition chronicling his work and designs. I was floored by it all. If only his vision for Baghdad had come true.
Now, I can mark another of his amazing works off the list, especially since I live and work a mere few miles from it, Taliesin West. This was Mr. Wright’s home and studio during the winter months for the last several years of his life. It is built on the edge of modern-day Scottsdale, Arizona, but when he bought the property it was literally off the beaten track.
Taliesin West is more than a home. It is a complex that served as home to his family and apprentices as well as their own little community complete with theaters. That’s right multiple entertainment venues. It follows the principles I admire in Wright’s work of working with the land not against it and creating a space that maximizes function while maintaining beauty.
The night I arrived in Scottsdale, my mother and I went on a tour of Taliesin West. It was the night tour that lets you see it not just in daylight, but also at dusk and when the sun has gone down and the lights turned on. In a small group, we followed a knowledgeable tour guide who gave us insight into the building and Frank Lloyd Wright’s life in regards to Arizona and the property.
We toured his office, his home, the main dining area of the studio building, the cinema, big theater and little theater. We experienced the outside and the fire-breathing dragon. Overall it was a wonderful evening.
With a few other tour options available, I will probably return for more. I am especially interested in the tour that includes the desert shelters that the apprentices build. During the tour I also learned that he designed and built some other buildings in the Phoenix area, so I’ll be visiting a few more of his masterpieces soon, even if just from the outside.
Currently, one home he built for his son is under risk of being demolished. Hopefully, it can be saved. Otherwise, it will be the first of his buildings in 40 years to be intentionally destroyed. If you want to help preserve this treasure go to Save Wright where you can sign a petition and more.