As part of its evolution into an independent graduate school of architecture, the professional architecture program established by Frank Lloyd Wright and carried on through the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (Foundation) is redefining and representing its identity this spring. The school will now be known as the School of Architecture at Taliesin, acknowledging its origins in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship, the apprenticeship program established at his homes, Taliesin and Taliesin West, in Spring Green, WI and Scottsdale.
“Adopting this new name, the School of Architecture at Taliesin, helps us to secure our identity as an experimental, forward-looking architecture program that is deeply rooted in the Taliesin Fellowship,” says Aaron Betsky, dean of the School. “The process in which we developed our new relationship with the Foundation and our accreditors has been an opportunity to closely examine who we are as a school and how to best position ourselves to advance our mission and create quality educational experiences for our students.”
Acclaimed designer Michael Bierut, partner at Pentagram, created a new visual identity for the School. Bierut says the new graphic identity builds on the heritage of this extraordinary institution and looks towards the future. “The solidity of the horizontally-oriented typography evokes the desert landscape that inspired Frank Lloyd Wright and his students,” says Bierut. “The variety of forms that these letterforms will assume is meant to indicate the capacity for experiment and invention that has always been at the heart of the Taliesin experiment.”
“Dean Betsky and the School have been excellent partners of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation,” says Foundation President & CEO Stuart Graff. “As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth this year, we are highlighting the profound impact Wright has on the way we continue to build and live. We believe that Wright is more relevant today than he was even in his own lifetime, and the School of Architecture at Taliesin is a prime example of his ongoing impact and contribution to innovative architecture and design.”
Betsky says that while the legal and financial relationship between the School and the Foundation will change as the School becomes an independent entity, the spirit of collaboration between the leadership and the Boards of the two organizations will continue. The organizations will to work closely together on programming and other initiatives. He adds, “We are truly grateful to the leadership of the Foundation for making this a seamless and effective transition.”
The Foundation owns both of Wright’s homes Taliesin in Spring Green, Wis. and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Graff says the School is vital to preserving the spirit of Wright’s legacy on both properties. “We look at Taliesin and Taliesin West as living laboratories that continue to advance Wright’s principles,” he says. “Seeing the next generation of great architects working and living in these settings is as important to their preservation as maintaining the walls that hold them up.”
When the transition is completed in August, the School will also see some changes at the leadership levels. Betsky will become President of the School of Architecture at Taliesin, while Chris Lasch, currently the director of academic affairs, will take over as Dean. Betsky sees this as a period of unprecedented opportunity. “We are excited to position the institution as one of the best experimental architecture schools in the country, a place where we all together learn how to make the designed environment more sustainable, just and beautiful.”