Tag Archives: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

1glass

Alumni Mobilize To Save Frank Lloyd Wright School

The words contained in the Last Will and Testament of Frank Lloyd Wright stand in contrast to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s announcement last month that it may close the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Wright’s Will, written in 1958, leaves no doubt about his wishes and priorities. It notes the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is an outgrowth of the ‘Taliesin Fellowship’ which was created in 1932 to support the school. The will states, “The purpose of the Fellowship – a cultural endeavor – is, in addition, the encouragement of the fine arts by the education and teaching of the art of architecture and collateral crafts.”

The Foundation, while insisting it does not want to close the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, is exploring watered-down partnering options that could remove the School of its accreditation or potentially give much control to other institutions.

The Taliesin Fellows (the alumni organization) have rallied in support of the School as an independent subsidiary of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, encouraging the Foundation’s board and raising funds to explore ways of structuring the School so that it meets the governance requirements of the Higher Learning Commission, which were recently made more stringent.

The Foundation’s actions, if followed to their conclusion, could transform the School from a vibrant institution that trains future architects to an empty shell offering “boutique seminars,” or allowing another institution to grant degrees under the Wright’s name.

That’s not what Wright intended: his Will speaks for itself about his intentions for his legacy.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Will continues, “Since their inception the Foundation and Fellowship have operated as the equivalent of a college in preparation of American architects in which capacity they have rendered full service the past twenty-five years.”

In 1985 Wright’s widow, Olgivanna, wrote a letter to the North Central Association (now the Higher Learning Commission) seeking accreditation. The letter states in part, “Mr. Wright and I founded the Taliesin Fellowship to give meaning to the lives of young people studying architecture so that as life continued they would not lose their creative energies. This has been the Taliesin thesis.”

Frank Lloyd Wright’s grandson, Eric Lloyd Wright, recently told a Phoenix NPR station his grandfather would be disappointed by either option being proposed by the foundation. Wright told KJZZ, “The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation was to be there to see that the Taliesin Fellowship survived,” Eric Wright said. “It was to help it. And it’s done just the opposite. It’s gotten rid of it. And once the Taliesin Fellowship is gone … if you lose that you lose the concept of what my grandfather was trying to achieve.”

The Foundation’s actions have stunned students and alumni and many are now mobilizing to save their school. The alumni have established a “Friends of the School” campaign page on their website, and are encouraging the public to sign their petition (click here) prior to the Foundation’s board meeting on September 26th.

“We implore the Foundation to read Mr. & Mrs. Wright’s words carefully and reconsider the path it has taken. There is still time to act and ensure the school’s future as a vibrant and living legacy to Frank Lloyd Wright,” said Kimbal Thompson AIA, TF, LEED AP; Apprentice 1967-1968; Taliesin Fellows President 2006-2007; current Vice President. Thompson is a practicing architect in Hawaii.

“The Wrights were adamant about continuing their vision of a school; an alternative to traditional education. As Mrs. Wright wrote, ‘It is a place for self-motivated, inventive students’ to ‘drink from the source and develop their own technique.’ It is obvious the purpose of the Foundation is to further the education of architects, through an accredited degree,” said Dave Myers, RA, LEED AP, NCARB, TF. Myers graduated from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in 2004 and is a practicing architect in St. Louis, MO.

Taliesin West

Successfully Energized Solar Power System To Sustain Taliesin West

Desert masterpiece Taliesin West is pursuing the dreams of a mastermind. With a mission to honor its founder, The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation inaugurated a new 250 kw solar photovoltaic (PV) power system donated by First Solar, which will help power the 75-year-old Taliesin West campus.

Energy efficiency consultant Big Green Zero has also joined forces with the foundation to turn Frank Lloyd Wright’s imagination into a manifestation.

“We are excited to have partnered with Big Green Zero and First Solar to complete the first phase of Energizing Taliesin West and are on track to making a world-famous National Historic Landmark site entirely self-sustaining,” said Sean Malone, CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

An architectural game changer of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright left behind a legacy of sustainability that sparked the interest to revamp Taliesin West’s campus.

“As we continue to move forward with this endeavor we remain consistent with the values of Taliesin West and advancing the Foundation’s mission to preserve and expand the heritage of Frank Lloyd Wright,” Malone said.

The commissioning marks the successful completion of the first phase of the Energizing Taliesin West initiative, a pioneering effort to transform the entire National Historic Landmark Taliesin West site into a net-zero energy customer, producing as much energy as it consumes annually.

An energy audit conducted by Big Green Zero found that Taliesin West’s nearly $200,000 energy bill could be eliminated through improving its lighting, insulation and climate controls and also generating renewable on-site energy, which is the focus of the comprehensive project.

Many local companies have donated materials and labor to make the project possible. Tempe-based First Solar designed the system and donated approximately 4,000 of its advanced thin-film solar panels as well as Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services.

Power-One donated an Aurora PVI-Central-250 kw inverter and the associated performance-monitoring equipment for the project, and Klondyke Construction donated electrical construction services.

Other local companies that contributed include Buesing Corp. (structural post installation), OMCO Solar (panel mounting structural materials), CLP Resources (structural and modular installation labor), Rummel Construction (site grading), Rapid (electrical equipment), Syntech (surveying), and Oldcastle (precast inverter pad). Other donors included Highway Safety Corp. (structural steel posts) and Olson Motor and Control Co. (electrical equipment).

The entire solar power system is engineered to provide maximum renewable energy with minimal impact. The ground-mounted First Solar PV system is expected to generate more than 500 megawatt-hours per year of emission-free electricity with no water or waste, displacing more than 300 tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking more than 50 cars off the road.

“We are very proud to be a part of this historic landmark, and we are confident the integration of clean solar power into Taliesin West will help advance the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright and educate visitors from around the world about renewable energy,” said Jim Lamon, First Solar’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Procurement and Construction and Operations and Maintenance.

Native cacti and other plant species, which were removed during construction, will be transplanted throughout the project site. Visible portions of the mounting system have been painted for blending into the desert environment. In addition, the solar modules at the site are covered by First Solar’s industry-leading, prefunded module and recycling program, under which the company will collect and recycle its modules at no additional charge.

“In the pursuit of energy efficiency, this is just the beginning,” said Bob Roth, CEO of Big Green Zero. “Our goal is to make Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West a Big Green Zero.”

Arizona

Taliesin West Gets Solar Power System

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation today inaugurated a new 250-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) power system donated by First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) which will help power the historic Taliesin West campus. The commissioning marks the successful completion of the first phase of the Energizing Taliesin West initiative, a pioneering effort to transform the entire National Historic Landmark Taliesin West site into a “net zero” energy customer, producing as much energy as it consumes annually, while maintaining the historic and architectural integrity of the site. The comprehensive project, led by energy efficiency consultant Big Green Zero, is focused on the twin goals of maximizing the campus’ energy efficiency through improved lighting, insulation, climate controls and other techniques while also generating renewable energy on-site.

Many local Arizona companies donated materials and labor to make the project possible. Tempe-based First Solar designed the system and donated approximately 4,000 of its advanced thin-film solar panels as well as Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services. Power-One donated an Aurora PVI-Central-250kW inverter manufactured in nearby Phoenix and the associated performance-monitoring equipment for the project, and Klondyke Construction donated electrical construction services. Other companies with operations in Arizona that contributed include Buesing Corp. (structural post installation), OMCO Solar (panel mounting structural materials), CLP Resources (structural and modular installation labor), Rummel Construction (site grading), Rapid (electrical equipment), Syntech (surveying), and Oldcastle (precast inverter pad). Other donors included Highway Safety Corp. (structural steel posts) and Olson Motor and Control Co. (electrical equipment).

The entire solar power system is engineered to provide maximum renewable energy with minimal impact. The ground-mounted First Solar PV system at Taliesin West is expected to generate more than 500 megawatt-hours per year of emission-free electricity with no water or waste, displacing more than 300 tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking more than 50 cars off the road. Native cacti and other plant species which were removed during construction will be transplanted throughout the project site, and the entire site will be seeded to restore native vegetation. Visible portions of the mounting system have been painted to help blend into the desert environment. In addition, the solar modules at the site are covered by First Solar’s industry-leading, prefunded module and recycling program, under which the company will collect and recycle its modules at no additional charge.

“We are excited to have partnered with Big Green Zero and First Solar to complete the first phase of Energizing Taliesin West and are on track to making a world-famous National Historic Landmark site entirely self-sustaining,” said Sean Malone, CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “As we continue to move forward with this endeavor we remain consistent with the values of Taliesin West and advancing the Foundation’s mission to preserve and expand the heritage of Frank Lloyd Wright. We will continue to educate and empower new generations of innovative thinkers to address the critical issues of sustainability and healthy living environments.”

“We are very proud to be a part of this historic landmark, and we are confident the integration of clean solar power into Taliesin West will help advance the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright and educate visitors from around the world about renewable energy,” said Jim Lamon, First Solar’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Procurement and Construction and Operations and Maintenance. “This project represents a microcosm of the solar industry in Arizona, and we are gratified that many of the same partners we work with to build utility-scale projects like Agua Caliente and APS Paloma joined in to support our community and make this vision a reality.”

Bob Roth, CEO of Big Green Zero, explained that the Energizing Taliesin West™ project started with a 2011 energy audit which found the site’s nearly $200,000 energy bill could be reduced 51 percent through energy efficiency improvements and balance could be offset by renewable solar energy. As a result, Big Green Zero proposed developing the Energizing Taliesin West™ program to demonstrate best-of-breed energy efficiency and solar energy technologies at this profoundly historic property.

“Today, we are celebrating this absolutely beautiful 250 kilowatt solar system,” Roth said. “And in the pursuit of energy efficiency, this is just the beginning. Over the next several years, the Energizing Taliesin West team will be installing and experimenting with additional energy efficiency technologies. Our goal is to make Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West a Big Green Zero.”

For more information on Taliesin West visit their website at www.franklloydwright.org.