Frank Lloyd Wright’s Winter Home, Taliesin West

Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West Beijing Tiles

Beijing tiles greet visitors at Taliesin West

Few professionals were more prolific than Frank Lloyd Wright. Over the course of a 70-year career, Wright designed 1,140 works, ranging from personal residences to office buildings to bridges. That works out to more than 16 every year; roughly a new design ever three weeks. 532 of those came to fruition in completed projects, 409 of which are still standing today.

Of that amazing total, we’ve visited just three: the Guggenheim museum in our beloved Manhattan, Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, and most recently Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona.

And while the coiled design of the Guggenheim stands in a class by itself, we found many similarities between the other two properties. From our previous visit to Fallingwater, we could have easily identified Taliesin as a Wright design even if no one had told us.

 Wright’s signature integration with nature appeared everywhere. Taliesin hugs the landscape along horizontal lines, mimicking the surrounding plains and looming mountain peaks. Fallingwater, meanwhile, hugs it vertically as an extension of a cliff side.

Taliesin West, Scottsdale AZ

In both properties, minimalist red metal brackets support large windows that draw the outside in. We’re told, however, that Wright’s original design for Taliesin included no window coverings at all and that the glass was added latter. Ceilings at Taliesin consist of mere canvas that not only allow light to naturally filter into the residence but also give the vague impression of a more rustic desert camp dwelling.

Features of both properties also reflect Wright’s love for Asian art and décor. At Taliesin, Beijing ceramic ceiling tiles greet visitors at every entrance.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West Beijing Tiles

The residence even comes complete with its own fire breathing dragon.

Taliesin West Dragon

Taliesin West was Wright’s winter home and obviously reflects so much of his personality. His love of nature and interest in harmonious architecture is apparent everywhere. Wright long ago said that “a building is not just a place to be; it is a way to be,” and you can kind of feel that here.

I doubt the architect would approve of our house on wheels, although I can’t know for certain. But more than a place to be, it is a way of life; one that affords us the opportunity to explore nature as well as Wright’s wonderful creations, wherever they may be. And that is something of which I am certain he would approve.

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10 Comments on “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Winter Home, Taliesin West”

  1. Natalie June 20, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    Thank you for this post! We live in Oak Park, and are surrounded by Mr. Wright’s work and legacy. Last summer we toured Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin which is very special — I’d love to see T-West.


    • Brian June 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

      We missed Taliesin when we went through Wisconsin last year. Looking forward to getting out there at some point.


  2. Ingrid June 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    I’ll have to add this to the list when we’re in AZ this winter. Shouldn’t you be high in the mountains by now, escaping the heat? CO is on fire right now….figuratively and literally. We’re heading to Wildflower Festival in Crested Butte, July 9th for some cooler temps.


    • Brian June 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      The blog lags behind our travels a bit, so we’re not still in AZ. (Our Facebook page is updated with our current location). Not that it matters much, because it’s 100 degrees where we are in CO and looks to be 105 at our next stop in Moab, UT. Didn’t realize this part of the country got so hot so soon or we’d have gotten through here earlier.


      • Ingrid June 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

        FYI….The Monument in GJ and Moab = rock = hot. Try and stay cool…..there’s always Flaming Gorge.


        • Brian June 21, 2012 at 8:59 am #

          Hi Ingrid, we’ve noticed how hot it is in this part of the world. The nice thing, though, is that nights and mornings are still pretty cool. I’m wearing a fleece today at 7:00 AM but it will be over 100 by this afternoon. So we’re planning to get out and do our sightseeing and hiking early before retreating back to the AC.


  3. geogypsy2u June 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Been meaning to visit here every winter while I’m in Yarnell.


  4. charleyabraham June 20, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    Been to Fallingwater, Guggenheim, Taliesin (Wisconsin), Robie House and Oak Park (Chicago), but not to Taliesin West, so enjoyed reading this article and looking at the photos.
    As for what Wright would have thought of a mobile home, I’d think he would’ve approved the dimensions of it (he built everything to his trim scale of 5’6?”) and of course he was a huge fan of built-in furniture, and the notion of narrow entryways opening up to a larger space, long horizontal lines, concept often overwhelmingly burdening practicalities – these would have had their appeal to him. He was not beyond designing a mile-high skyscraper, so I can see him collaborating with Winnebago on a Wright edition of the RV – in earthtones with wine-red trim, of course.


    • Brian June 21, 2012 at 9:02 am #

      Very funny, and probably true – especially the “concept often overwhelming burdening practicalities” part – how well that applies to both RVing and every Wright structure I’ve seen.


  5. Alan Todd June 25, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    As an architect, I’ve always been inspired by the work of FLW, I think he was much better than Le-corbuier. Great pic


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