Take a Guided Tour at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Desert Masterpiece — The Taliesin West
Take a guided tour through world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter retreat as well as studio, which exhibits the principles of design he was well-known for. Taliesin West is a UNESCO World Heritage site and National Historic Landmark snuggled in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, Arizona which Wright frequently took a trip to with his third wife Olgivanna and his students to escape the severe winter seasons of the American Midwest.
Wright’s beloved winter home and desert laboratory was developed between 1937 and 1942 and carefully handcrafted over several years into a world unto itself. The architect continued to add structures and adjustments up until he died in 1959. Deeply linked to the desert where it was created, Taliesin West possesses an almost prehistoric magnificence. It was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it amongst the most personal of the architect’s creations. What started in 1937 as an experiment in camping in the Arizonan desert gradually came to be a long-term testimony to Wright’s creative spirit.
Wright thought this to be the perfect area for such a structure: a place of residence, a place of business, and a place to learn. The framework’s walls are made of local desert rocks, piled within wood forms, filled with concrete – informally referred to as “desert masonry” It continues as the headquarters of The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and as the winter home for the School of Architecture at Taliesin. Many of Wright’s most renowned structures were designed in the drafting room here including the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.
The place is amazing, with stunning desert views of Scottsdale and Phoenix beyond, and the three-hour behind the scenes tour was well worth the extra time and money. Taliesin West is open to the public and offers a broad range of tours. Reservations strongly recommended. Insight Tours are free for members. See their tours page for more information.