02 October 2009

Friday Photos:Taliesin West

Twenty years after reading Many Masks I finally made it out to Wright's Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. Having been to many other Wright houses and buildings, this one still stood as unique. Like his home and studio in Oak Park, it was a place for experimentation and change. But the spatial experience of this living learning community campus and home turf and icon really lived up to the photos I've been looking at for decades. While it is a large property, the scale of the spaces are quite small.

While Wright's clients were harassed if they wanted to incorporate someone else's furniture or set out knick knacks on their hearth, his property still had odds and ends collected on various shopping trips and journeys. This dragon, picked out by his wife, breathed a 15" flame.

Back before there were laws, his students went into the hills of the property and pulled out remarkable petroglyph rocks which were integrated into the design.

He designed this three bowl memorial to his daughter and her two children who died in a car accident. The dishes were meant to be filled with water, but were not on the day we visited.

This very coarse masonry contrasts with the amazing ancient stone work at the nearby Chaco Canyon site, but it manages to feel very local. The coarseness didn't keep the walls from feeling architectural, but still satisfied his organic architectural desires. The stones were not cut or artificially shaped (we were told) and like so much of the work on the site, were made by his apprentices.

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