Although I’ve never lived in a modern style home I’ve always admired modern architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Arizona home—Taliesin West—is located in Scottsdale. Wednesday was the day to take a tour—one of the best tours I’ve ever taken!! Tom T—our tour guide was an elderly, very knowledgeable man with a clear love for anything related to Frank Lloyd Wright.
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in 1867 living to be 91 years old. He was a prolific architect even as he aged, designing and building 350 structures between the ages of 81 and 91! He had three wives and one mistress, his last wife was 32 years younger!!!
There is still a Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture where scholarships are given only to women as the Foundation believes women are not well represented in the architecture world.
All Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes have four inch steps—always—if the steps are taller or shorter than four inches, it isn’t a Frank Lloyd Wright design. He loved the color “cherokee red” and used it extensively in all designs. A red tile was placed to the left of the front door in each house and as FLW also decided where the furniture would be placed, if a homeowner moved any of the furniture, the red tile had to be returned as the house would no longer be considered a FLW design.
He had a healthy fear of fire thus the pool and fountains to use as a “bucket brigade” in case of fire. At Taliesin West they hit pay dirt at a mere 486 feet—copious amounts of water and to this day even though in the city limits of Scottsdale, the house is not tied to the city water system.
FLW was an accomplished painist and dancer but was a deadbeat—he didn’t pay his bills! Our guide told us FLW invented both the bi-fold closet door and indirect lighting—he loved wall sconces.
The theater was awesome—95% perfect acoustics and was named one of the Academy of Architecture top 100 structures of the 20th century.
Tour participants are allowed to sit anywhere on the furniture—Tom T told us a portion of the tour fees goes to re-upholster the seating periodically.
Portions of the house, classroom, and office originally had canvas roofs—after all, it rarely rains in the desert. The roofs are now covered with a material which makes it possible to air condition the buildings.
He sent his students out into the hills around the home site to find natural building materials—they found petroglyphs--
If you ever find yourself near Scottsdale—stop and visit Taliesin West—it is well worth the time and money!