Green Architecture Before its Time: Frank Lloyd Wright & Taliesin West

Green Architecture Before its Time: Frank Lloyd Wright & Taliesin WestGreen Architecture Before its Time: Frank Lloyd Wright & Taliesin West

Frank Lloyd Wright is probably the best known American architect, with a body of work that has influenced and shaped the course of building in this country.  His former home, Taliesin West (pronounced Tally-ehssen) in Scottsdale, Arizona, has become the international headquarters for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and is also open for public tours.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West

Taliesin West was built in the mid-1930’s, and is an example of Wright’s concept of organic architecture — building that evolves naturally out of it’s location.  He design and built ecological sound, sustainable architecture long before it’s current popularity.  It’s no surprise then, that Wright, along with some architectural apprentices, gathered desert rocks and sand to build this showcase home that is both in the desert and of the desert.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is just another museum.  Part home, part museum, and part art, Taliesin West is home to a working community of architects and students who live, work and study at the site, with a purpose of continuing the Wright architectural legacy.  The site covers over 600 acres, in addition to the complex.

Some of the notable features of Taliesin West include:

  • Cabaret Theater (film)
  • Pavilion Theater (performing arts)
  • Drafting studio
  • Wright’s architectural office and living quarters
  • Outdoor pools, terraces, and gardens
  • Workshop and residences for students and staff
  • Experimental desert residences (built by apprentices)

Aluminium Bathroom at Taliesen West

A variety of tours are offered, including Panorama (1 hour), Insights (1 1/2 hours), Behind the Scenes (3 hours) Desert Walk, Shelter Tour, Night Lights on the Desert, and a Photography tour (all 2 hours).  For the holidays, an additional Holiday Light Tour (2 hours) is added.  The Taliesin West tour schedule provides a full listing of tour availability (based on season), duration, and cost.

Taliesin West, now a National Historic Landmark. is located at the intersection of Cactus Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, approximately 114th Street, (map) in northeast Scottsdale.  In addition to public tours, it is also available for rental for receptions, dinners, and meetings.

Photo credit:  Artotem (exterior), Moody75 (bathroom) @flickr

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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

One Response to “Green Architecture Before its Time: Frank Lloyd Wright & Taliesin West”

  1. September 19, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Very interesting! Arcosanti, created by a FLW student Paolo Soleri, is nearby and also interesting.

    If you have a layover at ORD, take a cab to Oak Park and visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s first home and studio. Amazing!

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