Taliesin West

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“Human houses should not be like boxes, blazing in the sun, nor should we outrage the Machine by trying to make dwelling places too complementary to Machinery. Any building for humane purposes should be an elemental, sympathetic feature of the ground, complementary to its nature-environment, belonging by kinship to the terrain.” - Frank Lloyd Wright

Brilliant, inspirational, influential, innovative; these are a just a few adjectives that illustrate a very significant man with many traits. A pioneer in his field of work and study, Frank Lloyd Wright has a plethora of architectural masterpieces spread out throughout the world. Wright was born In Richland Center, Wisconsin on June 8, 1867. His father gave him the love for music, but it was his mother who encouraged him to become an architect. Wright attended Madison High School, and it was then and there where he first began to realize his aspirations of being an architect. After dropping out of high school, and two semesters of studying civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Wright moved to Chicago in 1887. Wright found work at the architectural firm of Joseph Lyman Silsbee, however Wrights ambition took him to the architectural firm of Alder and Sullivan. Louis Sullivan was an inspirational figure in Wrights career and eventually led him to be the architect is he known as today. Wright adapted Sullivan’s slogan “form follows function” and changed it into the phrase “form and function are one.” It was right then when Wright introduced the word ‘organic’ into his philosophy of architecture.

A term that was coined by Frank Lloyd Wright himself, Organic architecture is the harmonization between human habitation and the natural environment. It strives to entail a value for natural materials, blending in with the environment and surroundings, with a natural expression of the function of the building. Organic architecture, as Frank Lloyd Wright defined it, means “not just looking at nature but looking into it.” This means an architect must pay attention to everything around him, analyzing and understanding every aspect of the surroundings. Organic architecture is much like vernacular architecture and critical regionalism. The building or structure would look completely out of place if it were to be set anywhere else. It has to do with the place it is as well as the culture around it. Wright has a number of projects that exemplify his organic approach, but none illustrate it as well as his very own Taliesin West.

Taliesin West is built out of the stone and sand of the earth that had been gathered and found from the surrounding area by Wright himself and his students. He used this “rammed earth” much like Rick Joy had done in his studio in Tucson, to make the building appear as if it had shot up out of the desert dirt and grown to appear the way it appears merely by time and age, giving the building a sense of belonging within its context. The domain of the building is as if it is never ending, with nothing but dirt, rock, and mountains in the distance surrounding the campus. Taliesin west resembles Wrights other organic work, in specific Falling Water. Both buildings have few curves, and both are focused on solids and cavities. The reality of both structures is not the buildings themselves but the spaces within the buildings. Taliesin west is a brilliant example of organic architecture if not his best because of its natural qualities that bleed out of the desert sand like a vine oozing out of a wall. Wrights architectural vision was to create a campus that was in total harmony with the surrounding nature. Native rocks were hauled from near by with a natural color that emulates the desert tint. Red wooden rafters as appose to the traditional style roof that binds together a translucent canvas that embellishes the golden sun upon the interior of the building. Everything about the structure is in sync with the surroundings. Taliesin West...
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