12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd
Scottsdale, Maricopa County, Arizona, 85259
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 headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship began to "migrate" to Arizona each winter in 1935 to escape the harsh Wisconsin winters for Wright's health on his doctor's advice. In 1937 Wright purchased the plot of desert land that would soon become Taliesin West.
When Wright and his family arrived they found Native American petroglyphs among the rocks. One, seen today at the beginning of the guided tour, shows what may be hands clasping. Wright stylized the figures into interconnected lines, which became the symbol of Taliesin West.
The structure's walls are made of local desert rocks, stacked within wood forms, filled with concrete - colloquially referred to as "desert masonry". In the south-facing dining room, Wright did not take the masonry walls from floor to ceiling, and designed the roof to hang past the walls preventing unwanted sun rays from penetrating but allowing for horizontal light to pass through the room.
The view at Taliesin West was critical to its success. In the 1940s, Wright waged a battle against overhead power lines on aesthetic grounds. In the late 1940s when power lines appeared within the view of Taliesin West, Wright wrote President Harry S. Truman, demanding they be buried; it was a losing battle. So after briefly considering rebuilding in Tucson, he "turned his back on the valley," moving the entrance to the rear of the main building.
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