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Journey to Taliesin West

Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Arizona Biltmore
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The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort



By 1932, Frank Lloyd Wright was not only growing tired of the harsh Wisconsin winters ( I can only imagine; a call to our friends had confirmed the 15-18 inches of snow that had fallen and the four-foot drifts in our driveway), he was also growing broke.  The trip to Phoenix in 1927 to consult on the Biltmore Hotel must have piqued the imagination of the Master Architect; he was fated to return to the desert to found the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.  Originally known as the Taliesin Fellowship, the little "camp" of architects would grow into Taliesin West on the six hundred acres Wright purchased around 1937 at the foothills of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale.

It is difficult to imagine Scottsdale in the late 1930s, when the population was barely 2700, especially today when it is more than a quarter million and still growing.  (He likely paid little more than the $2.50 per acre that it cost  U.S. Army Chaplain, Winfield Scott -- who the city is named after -- back in the early 1880s.)  Entering the "estate" however, imagination is easier; the desert surrounding Taliesin West swallows it whole.  It is not until one is on the "doorstep" to the place, that one can see anything at all of the buildings; they so perfectly blend in with the desert.  In Wright's own words, Taliesin West would be "a look over the rim of the world", serving as an architectural laboratory for him for the next 20 years.







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