Taliesin West is located on the beautiful Sonoran desert in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains in northeast Scottsdale, Arizona. Frank Lloyd Wright began building Talisen West in 1937 as his personal winter home, studio, and architectural campus. We visited this National Historic Landmark over Thanksgiving weekend, 2012.
This desert masterpiece began when Wright fled Illinois in 1937 when his doctors told him he needed to retreat to somewhere warm to beat his pneumonia. He stumbled upon the plot of desert land and stated “Oh, we have to build here, this is pure abstraction wherever you look.”
Wright was well ahead of today’s “green” movement; he believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. He constructed Taliesin West based on the surrounding environment and executed the architecture patterns after the rattlesnake, the Gila monster, the chameleon,and the saguaro .
Wrights influences made way back to Aspen, Colorado through one of his students, local Aspenite Frederic “Fritz” A. Benedict. Benedict became one of the prevailing architects in Aspen through his collaboration with Walter Paepcke and Herbert Bayer. They established Aspen’s unique style of modern architecture, which blended nature with architecture, ensuring that the buildings did not overwhelm the landscape but instead contributed to the overall aesthetic of the area.
Taliesin West continues to it serve as the site of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and is open daily for tours. We recommend visiting this site if you are in the area. Wright’s interiors and the other fun historical facts about the site are just as interesting as the architecture.