The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is continuously embracing new ways to reinvigorate Taliesin West, Wright’s famed winter home, and this spring the recently designated UNESCO World Heritage Site is resuming daily tours, plus debuting restored historic spaces and new offerings for tour-goers to experience the prolific architect’s living laboratory in the Sonoran Desert.
Taliesin West is now open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for tours, with the distinctive on-site Frank Lloyd Wright Store remaining open through 5:00 p.m. for shopping. Advance reservations are required to tour the campus and the Foundation continues to uphold an array of careful safety practices during the ongoing pandemic.
The Foundation has been busy bridging the dialogue between past and present using modern audio and app technology mixed with historic recordings. The new “Guided by Wright” tour provides visitors with a unique, multi-sensory experience to gain a deeper understanding of Taliesin West using recordings of Frank Lloyd Wright’s own voice and words. Hearing Wright’s ideas spoken as one moves through the space allows unexpected opportunities to explore his connection to nature, poetry and art, and other philosophies that inspired his work.
Tour-goers can also enjoy new nods to the past thanks to a number of recently completed reinterpretation and restoration projects throughout Taliesin West’s historic core. The Foundation’s Collections and Preservation teams pored over hundreds of historic photographs and archival reference materials to get a sense of how Wright decorated, used, and often rearranged his environs with eclectic, beautiful artifacts and designs. The results have provided an even richer essence of what life was like in Wright’s heyday when guests arrive to see it for the first time or make a return trip.
“We are proud to welcome the community back to Taliesin West this season, and we are especially excited to share the impressive preservation work we recently completed. This was largely centered around what could be done to give visitors a better experience and understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright’s principles, and to demonstrate how they are still relevant and needed today, especially as we emerge from this pandemic” said Stuart Graff, CEO and President of the Foundation. “Our research allowed us to reconstruct and reinstall the elements necessary to make the already compelling architectural wonder even more authentic and accessible, demonstrating Wright’s ‘architecture for better living’ to our visitors to inspire them to live better and more beautiful lives.”
Guests can also opt to enjoy a unique outdoor event on April 3 featuring short modern dance vignettes inspired by the connection between the Sonoran Desert and Wright’s distinctive architecture at Taliesin West. CONDER/dance, an Arizona-based company, presents ten local choreographers in “Ten Tiny Dances” with two exclusive performance times, 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., with an option to add on a 45-minute tour of Taliesin West with the first performance at 5:00 p.m. As more of the world carefully reopens with increased vaccination measures, the Foundation hopes to gradually continue to add more dynamic events like this in the near future.
Additionally, there is now a professional architecture practice, grounded in Wright’s principles of organic architecture, operating out of Taliesin West’s Drafting Studio once again. H&S International, a firm founded by Bing Hu and WenChin Shi, has studios for its practice all over the world, and has now reached an agreement with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to open its newest branch, the Taliesin West Studio. This is a homecoming of sorts for Hu and Shi, who both attended the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, worked with Taliesin Associated Architects (TAA), and have been teachers and mentors for students at Taliesin and Taliesin West throughout the years. Visitors will get a day-in-the-life glimpse of modern architects working in the studio as they explore the grounds.