Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona
In 1927, Frank Lloyd Wright visited Arizona to consult on the designs for the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. A decade later, at the age of 70 years old, Wright decided to create a permanent winter residence in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains that came to be known as Taliesin (Welsh for “shining brow”) West.
Today, a little over 50 years after his death, Taliesin West attracts more than 150,000 visitors annually, making it one of the most visited sites in Arizona.
As one considers why thousands gather as Wright’s residence each year, perhaps nothing better symbolizes Wright’s world-wide acclaim than this statement from The Architectural Record magazine:
“Of all the 100 buildings listed in The Architectural Record as the most significant in the world, a total of 11 were by [Frank Lloyd] Wright.”
In this our second visit to Taliesin West, we decided to take the 90 minute “Insights Tour”. Lead by our knowledgeable docent, we were whisked back 50 years in time, and visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio, living quarters, studio kitchen and kiva, dining room, cabaret theater, music pavilion and were given great insight into what made this man tick.
As we walked around Wright’s Taliesin West, we learned about his three marriages, his various peculiarities, as well as the four basic architectural concepts that dominated his style: Nature of the Site, Methods and Materials, Destruction of the Box, and Building for Democracy.
We intend to go back to visit in June as this is when their popular “Night Lights on the Desert” tour begins. With this tour the desert masonry structures are lighted from within and evidently appear as jewel-like sculptures, with the lights of the valley below creating a dramatic romantic setting.
I hope I have convinced you to visit Taliesin West when you visit Scottsdale, Arizona. The few hours that you spend here are certain to awaken your imagination, and in my humble opinion, an awakened imagination is always a good thing.
Note: Click on any of the photographs for a larger version.