One of Arizona’s top tourist attractions, Scottsdale’s Taliesin West, draws over 125,000 visitors each year for tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s own living quarters, theaters, a drafting studio, workshops, sunken gardens, fountains and reflecting pools.
In 1937, Wright purchased approximately 600 acres at the base of McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, and soon began building Taliesin West from the rocks and sand around him, exemplifying his theory that construction materials suit the setting. With 35 apprentices, Wright built what he called his “desert camp,” providing escape from icy winters at his Wisconsin home and headquarters. His Scottsdale site became an all-encompassing learning environment including the study of nature, art, music and dance, with performances staged in on-site theaters. The compound (still open to visitors after Wright’s passing in 1959), offers tours year-round, and continues to serve as a living, working and educational facility with an on-site architectural firm. Renowned as one of Wright’s masterpieces, Taliesin West represents Wright’s brilliance integrating indoor and outdoor space. Texture, color, and the dramatic interplay of forms echo the geometry of the landscape. Westbrook Vacation Rentals has many properties situated in the north Scottsdale area, within close proximity to Taliesin West.
Public tours are offered daily (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter), from 9 am to 4 pm, September through May. Some tours are also offered June through August and a night tour is available. A special behind-the-scenes tour guides visitors through homes created by apprentices who live (or have lived), at the Frank Lloyd Wright site. Over the past seventy years, through The Desert Shelter Program, apprentices have designed, built and inhabited their own architectural experiments. On this two-hour tour, apprentices give visitors an up-close visit to these shelters from the basic sheepherder’s tent to dramatic structures perched at the edge of desert washes. Following Wright’s visionary teachings, these students of architecture built homes that are energy efficient, use materials suited to their setting, and celebrate the natural landscape.
Custom tours for prearranged groups of 15 or more are provided and group rates apply. For details and reservations, call 480-860-2700 ext. 482.
In addition to Taliesin West, eleven Wright-designed structures stand today in the Phoenix environs—eight homes, as well as a church, performance hall, and spire (recently erected, yet originally designed in 1957 for The Arizona State Capitol building.) There is also the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, where his influence and genius run deep, although after much debate, historians conclude he was a consultant, not the primary architect. All public structures grant access to visitors.