Taliesin - a trip back in time
Trip Start May 01, 2010
29Trip End May 29, 2010
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Our knowledgeable tour guide first walked us through Hillside, where Frank Lloyd Wright established the Taliesin Fellowship of experienced, like-minded architects and opened his school of architecture in 1932. In 1937, he completed Taliesin West near Scottsdale, Ariz., to be the "winter home" of his school. Apprentices and teachers/fellows are forced to make the annual trek to Scottsdale each fall because Wright had all of the furnaces taken out of Hillside and Taliesin as soon as Taliesin West was completed
Wright had little use for formal education, having had very little himself. He taught apprentice architects by putting them to work on his own commissions and even insisted they do the cooking, cleaning, construction and maintenance around the place – and they were paying him to do it!
The Hillside tour was followed by a visit to Taliesin itself. Wright began the house in 1911 on family-owned land when he was essentially banished from his home in Oak Park, Ill., after flaunting his affair with the wife of a client. She and her children came to live at Taliesin and were brutally slain in 1914 by a newly hired servant who murdered seven people with an ax while torching the house. I am not making this up. Wright rebuilt the house in 1914 and again in 1925 when lightning set it afire.
I have attached several photos of the buildings and if you look closely, you’ll see that these structures, among the most famous in architecture, look shabby, bordering on disrepair. Our guide told us it would take as much as $100 million to refurbish these buildings. Wright is partly to blame. He saw no reason to invest in quality construction and materials, since Taliesin and Hillside were undergoing constant change. Despite their condition, these buildings still display the genius that still influences architecture in America.
Tomorrow: House on the Rock, built by a man who wanted to out-do Taliesin.