Sunday, December 26, 2010

Taliesein West

Taliesin West was architect Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home and school in the desert from 1937 until his death in 1959 at the age of 91. Today it is the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

When designing Taliesin West Wright felt very strongly about the connection to the desert. He said: “Arizona needs its own architecture… Arizona’s long, low, sweeping lines, up tilting planes. Surface patterned after such abstraction in line and color as find “realism” in the patterns of the rattlesnake, the Gila monster, the chameleon, and the saguaro, cholla or staghorn – or is it the other way around—are inspiration enough.”

The structure's walls are made of local desert rocks, stacked within wood forms, filled with concrete. Wright always believed using the materials readily available opposed to those that must be transported to the site. In Wright’s own words, “There were simple characteristic silhouettes to go by, tremendous drifts and heaps of sunburned desert rocks were nearby to be used. We got it all together with the landscape…” The flat surfaces of the rocks were placed outward facing and large boulders filled the interior space so concrete could be conserved.

Natural light also played a major part in the design. In the drafting room, Wright used translucent canvas to act as a roof (later replaced by plastic because of the intense wear from the Arizona sun). In the south-facing dining room, Wright did not take the masonry walls from floor to ceiling, and designed the roof to hangover passed the walls preventing unwanted sun rays from penetrating but allowing for horizontal light to pass through the room. Wright believed natural light aided the work environment he had his apprentices in keeping the inside of his building in touch with the natural surroundings.

Of course most of the rooms couldn't be photographed so the next three pictures are from the internet of my favorite room, but all the other ones are pictures I was allowed to take. I love Frank Lloyd Wrights architecture, he was indeed a pure genius!

Afterward we ate at a delicious Italian restaurant and went shopping at one of my top two favorite stores, H & M! It was a wonderful outing!

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