Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ

By Claire

Taliesin means "shining brow" in Welsh, which is Frank Lloyd Wright's ancestry.  He believed a building should be in the brow of a hill, not the crown.

We made our last FLW pilgrimage today, another exciting, interesting journey into this man's life and work.  Taliesin West was built from 1937 onward.  He was in need of a winter abode, fell in love with Scottsdale, Arizona, while designing a home for a client, and decided to build a western location.

Entrance--note the twirling square--a Frank Lloyd Wright logo

This rock with petroglyphs was found in the hills behind the property during ground preparation.  Frank had the builders place it near the entrance in the same relative position they found it, and adopted the twirling square as a logo that represents the linked hands of fellowship.

The entire estate living area is a sprawling 33,000 square feet.  There are patio areas everywhere, giving it a roomy, open feel.

This structure is an archive that stores all documents and plans to protect them from fire.  Our guide, Jim, was talkative and full of information, quotes and jokes.  One client, Mr. Johnson, of Johnson Wax, called Frank in a fury because he was holding a party to showcase his new home, when it began to rain.  The roof started leaking over Mr. Johnson's chair.  Frank's response?  Move the chair.

We went into the office where the archives are located and sat and listened to some history of the place.

This is a photo of FLW taken 3 months before his death.  He died in a Phoenix hospital at 92.  He was in great shape; he ate mostly organic vegetables from his own garden, took a nap everyday and walked all over his properties, except when he was driving one of his 25 Cherokee Red cars.  Every Frank Lloyd Wright home incorporates Cherokee Red paint.

This is the Kiva, designed after the Indian style.  It had one window and stayed cool, wonderful for the parties held in here. The interior is surrounded by beautiful drawings.

Chuck heading into the Kiva--that red tile has FLW's signature carved into it as a building with his personal seal of approval

This drawing is a design he did for a proposed new City Hall building in Scottsdale.  The Mayor wanted something special and different.  Unfortunately, the City Council rejected it except for the spire, which was built and placed somewhere in Scottsdale. 

We were startled to find it as we drove by, later in the day, on our way to get gas.  If his design had been built, it would have become world famous, I'm sure.


Frank loved triangles and this house has them everywhere.

Looking towards the mountains

Frank loved Japanese art and placed one of these at all entrances.  These were purchased at Gumps in San Francisco.

Lots of sculpture placed all around the property

Frank found some pots he wanted to place in the living room.  His wife told him he would have to build wider shelves.  His solution was to cut a hole in the glass.

These small squares are ventilation windows for the bathroom on the other side of the wall.

Water tower on the right

Dragon with the ability to shoot a flame 4-5 feet

Breezeway--the Venturi effect--designed to increase natural air flow

View through Venturi onto Olgivanna's patio where she enjoyed tea every morning

Bell tower--the bell was used to call the architectural students to meals

This walkway had the beams at 6 feet--remember, he felt that anything over 6 feet was wasted space.  After his death, the beams were raised 8 inches.

Double doors leading into the theatre where plays took place and architectural presentations were made

Music room--each row had bench seats facing chairs and tables

Frank brought in a grand piano but it took up too much room.  He told his students to get their hammers and make a hole for the piano.  One of them had the bright idea of using dynamite rather than trying to chisel it out.  It worked but it took out all the windows too.

No house should ever be on a hill or on anything.  It should be of the hill.  Belonging to it.  Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other. ~ Frank Lloyd Wright