Friday, November 20, 2009

Taliesin West- November 20

John and I finally toured a Frank Lloyd Wright home. We have seen the outside of many of his homes,but never stepped inside because it was the wrong time for tours or just that the cost for doing seemed too exorbitant. After touring this place,however,I can understand why a paid tour guide is necessary. A lot of what one sees in a Wright home would not be appreciated or understood unless the details were explained by a trained guide. This tour took an hour and half. We enjoyed every minute of that time. Taliesin West was Wright's home for the winter months from 1937 until his death in 1959. His first Taliesin was in Wisconsin,where he spent his summer months since 1911. He loved his desert views(see picture)and when power lines became part of that view he redesigned Taliesin West so he would not have to look at them. A couple of words I heard on the tour really expresses what he tried to do with this home,and they were "organic architecture". The other imagery I liked,to explain Wright's work,was that his designs had to be in harmony with nature,the final design his opus. He was a self taught musician-enjoyed playing Bach and Beethoven by ear on the piano. He wanted this home to truly be a part of the desert,to fit unobtrusively into its surroundings. He used rock and sand from the nearby hills to form the walls of the building and fences for his sunken gardens. Every consideration was given to make the most of the sunlight and breezes flowing through openings of the house. A pool of water was placed outside of his office so that when a breeze flowed over that water,it created cooling air inside(I have that picture here). This is a rather massive complex,as it provides accommodations for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture,begun in 1932. So besides the drafting studio,we toured Wright's living quarters,two theaters(Wright loved watching movies,his granddaughter Ann Baxter provided them,a kiva room,cabaret nightclub(he had to have one after seeing them in Germany),and a large fellowship dining room. Sprinkled through out the building,and his gardens, were Japanese art forms and Native American symbols carved large rocks. A very beautiful,restful place!

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