News / Arts & Entertainment

Frank Lloyd Wright's Architecture Continues to Inspire in Arizona

Frank Lloyd Wright's Architecture Continues to Inspire in Arizonai
X
Shelley Schlender
April 23, 2014 6:08 PM
Frank Lloyd Wright is known as the father of modern American architecture. Two historic properties in the state of Arizona show the grand expanse of his designs. One is Taliesin West - Wright’s rustic winter home and architecture school. Half-an-hour away is a Wright-influenced hotel that’s filled with eye-popping luxury. Shelley Schlender reports.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Architecture Continues to Inspire in Arizona
Shelley Schlender
Frank Lloyd Wright is known as the father of modern American architecture.

Two historic properties in the state of Arizona show the grand expanse of his designs. One is Taliesin West - Wright’s rustic winter home and architecture school. Half-an-hour away is a Wright-influenced hotel that’s filled with eye-popping luxury.  

The splash of fountains is a refreshing counterpoint to the dry sagebrush foothills that surround Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece, Taliesin West. Wright broke ground on this 200 hectare property in 1939. 

The buildings include an airy theatre for live performances, an underground “kiva” for movie shows, and the residence where Wright lived until his death in 1959.  

When tour guide Mark Coryell leads visitors toward the office where Wright met with clients from around the world, tourists of a certain height must bend down so they don't hit their heads against Wright’s characteristically low doorways. They can stand up again in his office, which features rough-hewn native stone, and high, sloping ceilings that seem to float, because they’re translucent.

Coryell says Wright originally achieved this ethereal effect by making roofs from simple canvas cloth. The office includes windows placed so high, only the desert sky is visible.  

During the 1930s, most American architects preferred classic white columns that adorned straight, proper buildings, surrounded by clipped green lawns. The columns at Taliesin West slant, casting dramatic shadows, and the rough stone walls blend with the native cactus and desert trees.

“He’s uniquely American, and he wanted to break from us just copying other cultures like we did in Washington," said one visitor who finds Wright's ideas inspiring. "Beautiful, obviously, but it’s not unique. So, that’s really one of the legacies.”

“I have a niece and a nephew that are both young architects," said another tourist. "And they’re all drawn to those that came before. It’s the continuity of history and I love it."

To preserve that continuity, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation spends over $1 million a year on this National Historic Landmark. The foundation also oversees an architecture school on the property where today’s apprentices work in the same drafting hall where Wright designed New York’s Guggenheim Museum.  

As part of their training, they often roll up their sleeves and grab a hammer.

“We are helping take care of the buildings so we’re helping with preservation, and we learn a fair amount of construction,” said graduate student Corinne Bell.

Only half an hour from the rustic beauty of Taliesin West is another homage to Wright where the Arizona Biltmore Hotel rises like a palace from posh flower gardens and swimming pools.

Designed by one of Wright's students,  the luxury hotel is strongly influenced by the legendary architect. Wright was an on-site consultant during the creation of the hotel’s elegant walls. They’re made from concrete “Biltmore Blocks," that feature palm frond patterns. Details like these have drawn presidents and movie stars to the Biltmore.

Public Relations Manager Sarah Moran leads the way to the Aztec Room, a popular venue for weddings, with many details favored by Wright.

“You can see the beautiful Biltmore Block all the way around, the gold leaf ceiling, the copper beams," she said. "We’ve really tried to keep this room really looking like it did back then.”

That these two very different styles of buildings are still studied and admired is a testament to Wright's futuristic vision and lasting legacy.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

Country-pop singer, Lizzie Sider sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to perform songs from her new album, “Butterfly,” and to talk about her anti-bullying tour.

Blogs