Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ is a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage site located at the base of the McDowell Mountains in the Sonoran Desert.
Wright’s treasured desert retreat and laboratory was founded in 1937 and painstakingly handcrafted over the course of several years. Taliesin West has an almost primeval grandeur thanks to its intrinsic link to the desert from which it was fashioned. Wright and his apprentices did nearly all the work on it, thus it has a more personal feel than some of his other buildings.
Wright bought several hundred acres in the then-rural slopes of northeast Scottsdale, and he began to envision a desert utopia made of low-slung buildings designed to represent the sweeping expansiveness of the desert. Taliesin West would be built primarily of “desert masonry,” a material Wright championed throughout his career. This material consists of desert sand and cement, with local rock arranged in wooden shapes.
Wright’s goal in designing his structures to blend in with the desert landscape was to help maintain the natural ecosystem there. Canvas roofs flood the inside with natural light, and redwood beams add Wright’s signature splashes of color.
A drafting studio, dining halls, three theaters, a workshop, Wright’s office and private living quarters, as well as houses for apprentices and staff were all added to the complex over the years of its existence. There are pathways, terraces, ponds, and gardens connecting each structure. All of the furnishings and decorations inside were planned by Wright himself, and the majority were crafted by apprentices working at the site.
Until his death in 1959, Wright spent every winter in Arizona. Steel and fiberglass gradually replaced the less permanent materials used in the construction of Taliesin West’s buildings. Despite its name, the desert did not lack for life. In addition to the Fellowship’s emphasis on hands-on architectural education, participants were also treated to a packed schedule of evening lectures, concerts, and plays.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Fellowship continue to thrive in their longtime home of Taliesin West. Some of the Legacy Fellows who worked and lived with Wright are still present.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s much-loved winter getaway is a stunning location for any event, thanks to its combination of desert grandeur and natural splendor. Taliesin West, a national landmark and cultural icon, is a picture-perfect setting for impressive business gatherings. The events at Taliesin West are not permitted to be of a political, activist, or religious nature.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Shop is located just inside Taliesin West’s main door and features beautiful examples of Wright’s work. Merchandise in the Shop honors not only Frank Lloyd Wright, but also the many artists whose work he has influenced.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
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