To Taliesin and Back

Trip Start Dec 24, 2010
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Trip End Jun 01, 2011


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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Sunday, January 16, 2011

We got up in time to get to church in Fountain Hills, about ten miles from the CG.  It was good.  Friendly folks and good celebration.  Then we headed off to Frank Lloyd Wright's summer home, Taliesin. It's located in the hills above Scottsdale.  He purchased the land in 1937 for $12.50 an acre, a price the locals thought outrageous.  Construction began in 1938, done by him and his architectural apprentices, mostly by pick and shovel.  A majority of the wall structures are made of local stone, desert sand and portland cement.  He lived here till his demise in 1959, at the age of 92.  His wife lived on there and made some changes that of which he would never have approved, according to our guide, Ernie.  Some of those changes were "undone" after her death to make the structure more like the original.  They have a total of twenty-six students, working either on a degree in architecture or a masters degree.  The students live in the desert, in pyramidal shaped tents or small dwellings of their own design.  The course runs up to five years, at a cost of $30,000 per year.  Up a bit from his original school in Wisconsin in 1932 which was $650 a year.  Our tour focused on the inside of this huge structure, excluding actual visits to the classrooms where students were working, though it be a Sunday.  Wright had a thing for ancient Asian (oriental) art and has several pieces imbedded in the structure itself and along the passageways.  Light and angular shape were two of the most obvious things in his design here.  He used no glass in the skylights, preferring to filter the light through canvas panels installed in the framing.  Each year, current times included, the school moves to Wisconsin in April to avoid the high temperatures in the area.  Originally, all of the skylights and furniture were moved into storage and the place abandoned.  Clean-up on return was obviously a major task, as the dust and critters took over during the hot months. I'll make comments on some of the photos, which will give you an idea of some of his thinking that went into the designs. 

Lynn just mentioned that if you'd like a good "read", Loving Frank, a book from the perspective of his mistress, covers his earlier years.  I read it and learned a lot about the amazing artist. 
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