Taliesin West: 10 True Facts

Carol Kubota
6 min readSep 15, 2019

Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, is located in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of Arizona’s first “snowbirds”arriving in early October and returning to his summer home in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

  1. Taliesin West became a UNESCO World Heritage site on July 7, 2019

2. The Desert Lab

Mr. Wright bought six hundred acres for $3.75 an acre in 1936. He described the view as “a look over the rim of the world”.

He referred to Taliesin as his Desert Lab. He devised a “light canvas-covered redwood frame-work resting on massive stone masonry that belonged to the mountain slopes around the property”. It was his first time to use desert construction materials.

He used a trial and error form of building. He built a wall and if it fell down, he would reconstruct until the wall held it’s form. He never tired of trying new experiments with new material. He had to use steel instead of redwood because it could not adapt to the desert elements. The desert was dry and the redwood splintered.

3. Ship in the Desert

Frank Lloyd Wright spent time on ships going back and forth to Europe and Asia. He traveled to Europe with his girlfriend, Mamah Bouton Bothwick.

She was murdered by a disgruntled employee when he set fire to Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

He was also able to escape his creditors while sailing across the ocean. There were no cell phones at the time.

4. The Apprentices built Taliesin for Mr. Wright

Mr. Wright had between fifteen to thirty apprentices working without pay. Some of his detractors referred to it as slavery. The apprentices stayed for four to five months, others came and never left.

They worked in the shadow of Frank Lloyd Wright and few well known architects emerged from his group. The apprentices paid up to $1,100.00 per year for room and board.

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