It doesn’t take long to drive from Phoenix and its well-manicured suburbs and find yourself in the vast, dry Sonoran Desert. And one of the fascinating places to discover outside the city is the architectural marvel, Taliesin West, built by Frank Lloyd Wright in the late 1930’s.
Wright had been invited by former students to come out and help them build a masterpiece of a hotel in the desert. It didn’t take long for the difficult artiste to have a falling out with his students (Frank liked to have things his own way, you might say). The architects went on to create what is now the Arizona Biltmore, which is well worth a visit in its own right, if you love FLW-influenced buildings. It’s really gorgeous.
Though Frank didn’t last long at the Biltmore building site, he was in Arizona long enough to fall in love with the desert’s beauty and to purchase acres of land not too far away for his own uses. He called this Western masterpiece Taliesin West (having built his original Taliesin dream home in Wisconsin decades before).
Say what you will about Frank Lloyd Wright . . . and a number of writers have, from the story of his doomed relationship with a neighbor’s wife in “Loving Frank,” to the dissection of his serial womanizing ways in “The Women” . . . but the guy had a vision.
Taliesin West is breathtaking. Wright built his original Taliesin to complement the rolling hills of rural Wisconsin. Taliesin West is a symphony celebrating the colors and contrasts of the desert, of the great American West. Today it is open to the public year-round for tours and is home to a school for talented students of architecture.
To learn more about Taliesin West, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy in the U.S. and abroad, visit www.franklloydwright.org.