Sunday, March 20, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright

While in Arizona I took advantage of the opportunity to go to Frank Lloyd Wright's winter camp called Taliesin West.
I love interior design and architecture. Wright is, without a doubt, the best designer and architect. Ever.
This was our tour guide through the Taliesin West property. This is where Wright and his wife lived in the winter. They moved their architecture school here with them. They often housed guests and visitors here as well. This was a working camp where the architecture students would learn and work.

Wright's first wife and children were killed in a house fire. He was terrified of losing his second wife to a similar fate. Therefore he had this, and other, reflective pond installed so there would be plenty of water nearby in case of a fire.
At the time Wright built this home/studio there weren't any nearby towns or fire stations in the desert.
My happy family members on the tour. :o)

On the left side of the picture above you can see the studio/working area (it extends way off to the left). This was originally covered in canvas to protect the students from the harsh sun but still allowed the breeze to come through. The canvas has since been replaced with a white plexi-glass material to replicate the look but provide more protection for the structure. Stright ahead in the photo is the living area of the house. The windows you can see on top of the roof lead to guest suites. The students not only studied here, but were housed here as well.
In the picture below, you can see a court yard area. This area is up the steps you can see all the way to the right in the photo above.

The photo below shows a closer view toward the stairs and passageway. On the left is the dining room, on the right is a meeting space that has had many different functions over time.

Here is a peek into the dining room on the left side under the passageway.
Here is another reflecting pool on the other side of the house. Wright covered all his bases!
One of Wright's philosophies regarding architecure is to lead people into a space though a small passageway, then open up into a larger area. This gives the room a sense of being larger than it actually is.

Wright also designed furniture to be very low to the ground. This way the room above you feels very spacious, even if it isn't. The chairs below are called oragami chairs and are actually quite comfortable!
Another feature Wright brought into his projects and houses is natural light. He was the first to move support beams from the corners of rooms into the middle of walls so he could use materials such as glass to create the corners. This prevented a solid structure from obstructing your view and allowed him to open spaces to one another. Below is Wright's living room.
Notice all the low furniture, light, and simple lines. Aaahhh.
Wright also pulled inspiration from nature whenever possible. Notice the table below moves out from the plant in the center in a spiral pattern, similar to a nautilus shell. Also, the corner of the room is a rock pillar the glass pannels butt up against.
Here is the entrance into the living room above. See how small the entrance is into the space? It made the room feel very expansive.
Wright's second wife had her own area. This was her daybed. Literaly to sleep on during the day. I like.
Here is her desk. The wall of her room/office opened right onto a courtyard.
Next door to Mrs. Wright's room was her husband's office. Wright had two beds in here. One for sleeping on for naps during the day and another for sleeping at night if he was working too late (or something like that, it was three months ago).
You can see the wall dividing the two beds from each other and a corner of the other bed in Wright's office. His desk is barely visible through all the people on our tour.
Wright's private bathroom. I think Sparky would love to have this at home.
I don't remember what this is. I believe it is a picture from Mr. and Mrs. Wright's private dining room next to their offices. The fireplace is large enough I could walk into it. Some of the furniture is built into the walls/floor
Wright strongly believed that the architecture should blend into the surroundings. The structure should look as though it has risen from the earth. You can see here that he did a very good job! You can barely find the building in the picture.
Wright also has a theater on the property. The red curtains on the stage are designed to be moved to acomodate various sizes of shows. If a single person is performing the curtians would close off most of the space. If an orchestra was performing the curtains were all moved out of the way. The seating is arranged like stadium seats. You enter through a narrow passageway going up steps. When you reach the top you enter above all the seats with the whole room expanding before your eyes.
To the right in the picture above you can see what looks like a mantle above a fireplace. In the photo below you can see it is a puppet theater!
Another theater-esque room. There are rows set up like stadium seating. Each row has a built in bench along the back and two tables with chairs that can be moved for dinner theater.
Close up of the tables and chairs
Some neat pieces Sparky should make me:

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