The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation creates Taliesin Institute

Above: Taliesin West was architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and school in the desert from 1937 until his death in 1959. (Photo by Andrew Pielage) Real Estate | 1 Feb |

he Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation announced today the creation of the Taliesin Institute, a new collection of programs intended for architecture and design students, new and established design professionals and the broader public interested in learning about the history and future of organic architecture principles, which were established as the core of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work.


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Taliesin Institute will embrace a broad range of work including the development of a consortium of leading architecture schools that will send students to study at the two Taliesin campuses, Taliesin in Spring Green Wisc. and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Ariz., with a particular focus on hands-on work aligned with Wright’s insistence on learning by doing. The Institute will also offer public classes, symposia and workshops that reflect the evolving nature of Wright’s principles of organic design and their relevance to the way we live now, and in the future. Some programs, such as a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Historic Preservation Program, have already been operating for several years, and will grow through the Institute.

Jennifer Gray, Ph.D., is a noted Wright scholar who recently was the curator of drawings and archives at Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library.

“It is not enough to present Wright’s work through tours and museum engagement programs,” said Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Foundation. “Wright intended his Foundation to perpetuate the field of organic architecture, including training architects in his principles of design. Those principles are constantly evolving and changing, because they are built around the way we live and embrace new materials, new technologies and a changing culture.”Over the past two years, the Foundation met with leaders from architecture schools, design firms and the community to understand how its work could best serve the profession and the public interest while remaining true to the principles of Wright’s body of ideas.To lead these programs, the Foundation has engaged Jennifer Gray, Ph.D., a noted Wright scholar who recently was the curator of drawings and archives at Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. Gray was responsible for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives, containing more than one million elements including Wright’s drawings, writings and photography. Dr. Gray is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia and has taught at Cornell University and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Dr. Gray was also the co-curator of the MoMA exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright: Unpacking the Archive.  In addition to her expertise on Wright’s work, Dr. Gray’s research explores how designers, notably Dwight Perkins and Jens Jensen, used architecture, cities and landscapes to advance social and spatial justice at the turn of the 20th Century. She also is interested in contemporary social practice, curatorial practice, the history of architecture exhibitions and questions of critical heritage.“We’re thrilled to bring someone as respected as Jennifer Gray to the Foundation to lead this important new initiative, as the scope of her research interests fits brilliantly with the work of the Taliesin Institute,” said Graff.“I am very excited to be part of this new venture and look forward to exploring and advancing Wright’s ideas about architecture, education, community, the environment and more and how they remain relevant for us today,” Gray said. Dr. Gray will be under contract with the Foundation while she completes other projects, and will join the Foundation full-time beginning in Summer 2022.  “We’ll use the early months to focus on fleshing out the strategic plan for the Institute and then announce specific programs as they are ready to come online. Everything will be done to start with small, focused programs that can be fine-tuned and scaled up as the opportunities allow,” said Gray.For more, visit FrankLloydWright.org.

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