Tours in Arizona often focus on the beauty of nature, from the amazing red rock formations to desert views. While enjoying your time at Bluegreen's Cibola Vista Resort and Spa, don't miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in another world. Sign up to tour the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famed American architect.
Taliesin West, Wright's desert masterpiece, was completed in 1937 and served as his winter home, studio and campus for students of architecture. Situated in what is now northeastern Scottsdale, the house seamlessly combines indoor and outdoor living, bringing the majestic Sonoran Desert into every day living and thousands of visitors to its front door every year.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed over 1100 projects during his career. Of those 1100, 532 were actually constructed. Most of his work still stands today, and with each passing year, his visionary examples are more appreciated. As Wright was a master of creating spaces that integrate indoors and outdoors, his buildings blend seamlessly into their sites, taking full advantage of the main benefits each has to offer.
"Wrights buildings are long, lean, and close to the ground," says architect Joyce Owens, who has visited Taliesin West. "He used a lot of angled walls there, and that's kind of reflective of the mountains in the background. He also incorporated low sloping roofs, and angles in the stonework. It's a beautiful project."
"This project was similar to his low-slung properties, in that it hugs the earth," says Owens, "but Taliesin West is very sculptural, very organic." Owens explains that Wright began using more organic shapes – those found in nature – in the later years of his career. "But he always integrated his design into the landscape," she says, "and Taliesin West if a great example of that, how he integrated everything into the site."
Owens points out that by diminishing the lines between indoors and out, Wright made his design "of" the land, instead of merely "on" the land. "His vast use of glass in the Taliesin West buildings helps it reach out into the landscape."
Wright's other talent was truly understanding human scale, and intuitively designing in away that created comfort zones. He is said to have glorified the sense of shelter, and is quoted as saying, "A building is not just a place to be. It is a way to be."
The Taliesin West compound beautifully exemplifies this, and amazingly, every single thing on the property was custom-designed, from the floor coverings to the light switches. Wright left no detail untouched and directed every step taken by his students who helped to build the project. Today, the property still houses an architectural school and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
Over one-third of Wright-designed buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or are in a National Historic District. If you would like to see another example of his influence, head into Sedona during your visit and stroll through the Chapel of the Holy Cross. While it was designed by one of his students, it rests as another example of his efforts to create spaces that enhance, not occupy, places.
So, if architecture is your thing, or you think this may be interesting addition to your Bluegreen itinerary, jump in the car and tour Taliesin West. You will undoubtedly feel his devotion to nature, and gain an understanding of his common cause: "Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
12621 North Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard
Scottsdale, AZ 85259
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