This weekend we headed over to Phoenix where we met Paul's parents. They happened to be in Arizona for an education conference. They were happy to fly in early to spend a couple days with us since it is only 5 hours from LA.
We had some of the best food thanks to Becky's top notch searching abilities and we got to see the sun set over the mountains while looking over the city. The highlight of our trip had to be our visit to Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd Wright. We didn't really know what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed Taliesin West as an escape from the cold Wisconsin winters. Wright and his wife moved to Arizona and brought their apprentices to help design their numerous projects around the world.
The design intent was to create a building that blends in with the surrounding nature. Wright's iconic Prairie Style incorporates low horizontal planes with simple yet interesting details. He built the home at the foothills of the McDowell Mountains in order to maintain the desert landscape. He felt Arizona needed it's own Architecture and made sure to use locally sources materials to build his winter home. The structure's walls are made of local rocks, stacked facing outwards within a wood forms, and held together using a concrete mixture incorporating the sand from the mountains above. Another predominant feature was the even quality of light. FLW used canvas to cover certain areas in the structure providing a perfect diffused light. In other areas there were floor to ceiling windows ensuring natural sunlight was a prominent feature. Wright loved to compress people with tight spaces and then release them by opening up the rooms. It was his way of forcing people to use the space as he wanted them too. Wright would design as much as his clients would allow, including furniture and at times clothing, making sure to have a hand in everything that was in the space.
After Wright passed away in 1959, the foundation allowed the remaining apprentices to live on the property. A few of them still reside there today. Thirty to forty students are also living on the property and they are a part of an Architectural Masters program. The students move between Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West for two years while obtaining their degree. How amazing would that be!? You could live in two iconic homes for a couple years while going to the school developed by an Architectural icon!
Paul thinks the best part of the masters program is that you can choose to stay in the dorms or build your own shelter in the middle of the desert. He is already planning his desert shelter, with a hammock and a fireplace for cool nights. Wondering about the rattlesnakes...don't worry! Rattlesnakes hibernate during winter... or that's what they told us so we wouldn't fret!
All in all we had a great time exploring and getting inspired for our future home. We're happy we were able to meet up with the parents and tour such a great place! We could share more details but we don't want to spoil your trip. If you're ever in AZ, make this a stop! It won't disappoint.