Working in an Architectural Masterpiece
Five months ago I switched jobs. I no longer work at an art gallery in Old Town Scottsdale. Instead, I have a great job at a National Historic Landmark, which also happens to be the first place I visited when I moved to Arizona in 2012 and is a part of my bucket list. I work at Taliesin West, the winter home and studio of the 20th century’s greatest architect, Frank Lloyd Wright!
Talk about awesome! I’ve admired Wright’s works for many years and have always been a fan of great architecture. My bucket list includes visiting as many Wright sites as possible. Now I have the privilege of working at and in one of Wright’s masterpieces that was ranked the 25th most important piece of architecture in the last 100 years by Architectural Record magazine.
Part of the week I get to give tours of the campus to visitors from all over the world. I tell them the story of Taliesin West and about Mr. Wright and his design philosophies and innovations. I love being a tour guide! The rest of the week I work in the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation development offices helping the foundation fulfill its mission by researching and telling the story in writing for grant proposals among other things.
What makes Taliesin West so special?
Walking across this National Historic Landmark property and seeing Wright’s genius at work I witness the influence of the desert and feel the connection of the land to the architecture. Each of the buildings at Taliesin West is important to the whole, but each is special and unique to itself. They wake up with the morning light and glow at night like molten gold melted by a fire-breathing dragon. It’s an oasis from noonday sun, and standing on the prow as the desert sea glows when the sun drops behind the praying monk is magical. Light and shadow dance through the day. The desert surroundings constantly shift and change as each succulent performer takes center stage in its own due time. This is what I experience at Taliesin West; this is how it comes to life.
Each day I feel honored to be among the few who get to share the story and legacy of Taliesin West. I want to invite all of you to come experience this remarkable piece of architecture. It is truly a special place. Enjoy a few pictures!
Information for visiting Taliesin West follows the photos.
To visit this architectural gem, reservations are recommended–tours do sell out especially during our peak season. You must be with a tour guide to experience the property since people live and work on-site including some of Mr. Wright’s apprentices, staff of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation that houses its offices there, and for seven months of the year students and faculty of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. So, to go on a tour, you can make reservations through Zerve, which can be accessed online or over the phone at 888-516-0811.
Depending on the season, tours go out the door at different times. By making reservations online, you’ll be able to see all of your options including the tour times and the variety of tours offered and guarantee a spot on the tour of your choice. The signature tour is the 90-min Insights tour, which takes you in and out of several structures on the campus such as the Wright’s living room and bedrooms. If you’re a local, look for discounts during the summer months. Also, you can join the Frank Lloyd Wright Association, which among other benefits gives you discounted rates on tours at Taliesin West and Taliesin in Wisconsin.
Next time you’re in the area, make Taliesin West a part of your itinerary. You won’t regret it!