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Journey to Taliesin West

Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Arizona Biltmore
Waldorf Astoria Resort

 

Originally commissioned in 1949 by the Southwest Christian Seminary in Phoenix, Frank Lloyd Wright (then 82 years of age) was to design a Classical University.  Complete with chapel and other structures, the campus would occupy eighty acres.  His drawings were finished and made public in 1950.  The Seminary however, ceased its operations and the university was never built.  Permission was obtained from Wright's widow to use the plans for a new First Christian Church; construction began in 1971 and the church was completed in 1973.  Stunning -- and very Frank Lloyd Wright in every way -- the church spire looks like a triangle and rises seventy-seven feet to the heavens (it is actually has four sides) in bold fashion; the outer walls are concrete and native stone. The red tile with Mr. Wright's signature imprinted on it is an immediate signal that the building is an authentic and original Frank Lloyd Wright design.

Built and dedicated in 1978 is a separate and free-standing, 120-foot bell tower that is topped with a 22-foot cross.  It's four sides are also an optical illusion, as it -- like the church spire -- appears to be a triangle.  Containing more than 300 tons of concrete, stone and steel, the tower has no inward-supporting structures and is truly one of the most unique of Wright's designs.  We were grateful for the opportunity to tour and photograph the building.

 

 

 

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