Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona
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.
Open to the public for tours, Taliesin West is located on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. The complex drew its name from Wright's summer home, Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship began to "trek" to Arizona each winter in 1933. In 1937 Wright purchased the plot of desert land that would soon become Taliesin West. He paid “$3.50 an acre on a southern slope of the McDowell Range overlooking Paradise Valley outside Scottsdale.”
Wright felt very strongly about the connection to the desert. He said: “Arizona needs its own architecture… Arizona’s long, low, sweeping lines, uptilting 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 favored using the materials readily available rather than 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…”
Many of Wright's most famous buildings were designed in the drafting room at Taliesin West, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and Grady Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State University in Tempe.