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

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

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

African Music Treasures