A few weeks ago, G and I headed over to Scottsdale to visit Taliesin West. Built in 1938, Taliesin West was Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and studio. Today, the property serves as the main campus for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and the headquarters for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. There are several different types of tours available for the property but we opted for the 90-minute Insights Tour, which allowed us to tour Wright’s Office, the Garden Room, the Living Quarters, the Kiva, the Sculpture Garden, the Music Pavilion, and the Cabaret Theater (basically all the main areas of the property).
We went on one of the first tours of the day, the only logical solution for a 90-minute, mostly outside tour in the middle of summer in Phoenix. Umbrellas and water are provided but this is not a tour I would suggest for people not used to the heat. The majority of the tour is outside and the indoor areas are only air-conditioned to about 90 degrees. It wasn’t too bad for a native like me (although I brought my own water, wore a hat, and layered on the sunscreen) but out-of-towners would be best visiting Taliesin West during the cooler months.
The tour was pretty interesting and our guide was very knowledgeable. I’d never been to any of the homes Frank Lloyd Wright designed before this so it was cool to learn about his design philosophies and see them put into practice. Taliesin West uses a lot of natural light and is designed to fit in with the desert landscape. All of the buildings’ walls were made with concrete and rocks that were found on the property, and the rocks on the outside of the walls are left uncovered on purpose to add to the desert feel.
The drafting studio is still used today by students of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The glass windows are a new addition to the property- originally the buildings were designed with an open-air feel and some of the roofs were even covered by canvas which allowed soft, natural light in but gave some protection from the elements.
After a fire at Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s summer home in Wisconsin, he made sure to have plenty of water on hand at Taliesin West. The reflection pool serves as a source of water in an emergency but it’s also designed to fit in perfectly with the rest of the property. And it adds a place to cool off and relax during the warmer months. This outside part of the tour was probably the longest section and I was dying to climb into the reflection pool while we were standing in front of it (and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who wanted to take a dip).
I have to admit, I’m not super into desert-style architecture, but the design of these buildings was pretty cool to look at. There were so many small touches that made it really interesting. It’s amazing all of the detail that went into Taliesin West.
The Garden Room was (slightly) air-conditioned, so it was nice to stop in and sit for a few minutes. The reddish-orange color seen here on the floors and ceiling was prevalent throughout the entire property. Everything at Taliesin West was designed specifically to fit in the space and every knick-knack had its own spot.
The outside of the Garden Room even had perfectly placed statues and flowers. Even the edges of the roof had special design details to make sure the shadows cast were aesthetically pleasing.
Taliesin West also has two performance areas. The Music Pavilion is a sea of the signature red color. It has a transparent roof to allow for lots of natural light. This is where Wright and his students would gather for performances, put on plays, and hold parties. Another building, the Cabaret Theater, is built out of stone and offers perfect acoustics in a more intimate setting.
Our visit to Taliesin West was a lot of fun (and very hot). The Insights Tour was the perfect length and we got to see so much of the property and learn about the history of the buildings. I would definitely recommend checking this out if you are in the area, and I think it will be fun to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s other properties and see how they compare.
Dress: Forever 21, old, similar here, here, and here // Hat: BP, old, similar here // Sunglasses: J. Crew Factory // Shoes: LC Lauren Conrad, old, similar here // Bag: Kate Spade Cobble Hill Little Minka, old, similar style here // Necklaces: vintage, Gorjana, old similar here // Lipstick: YSL Rouge Volutpe Shine in 13 Pink in Paris // Nail Polish: Julep India
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