Back in 2008, we googled ‘beautiful places to visit in America’ and found Sedona on every list, so clearly a visit to the state of Arizona was necessary! You can read about fabulous Sedona here, but another favourite place in Arizona was Taliesen West.
Previously we had not associated the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright with Arizona as most photos of his beautiful buildings are in cool leafy green landscapes. However in 1927 he was invited to design the still fabulous Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix and the warm climate and desert scenery obviously got his creative juices flowing. As well it was a warm alternative over the winter months.
The Master Architect later returned with his third wife Olgivanna to establish the Taliesen West Summer School of Architecture on the outskirts of Phoenix. (It should be noted that he was slightly infamous in terms of his marital ‘agility’ but that’s a whole other story!)
Back then their 600 acres in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains was really ‘outback’ territory. The students gathered desert rocks and sand over many years to create these amazing buildings for the next 20 years, and the sculptures by Heloise Crista are also beautiful works of art.
You can’t see much until you get right up to the door as everything blends in so beautifully with the desert.
Of course now it’s a piece of paradise among the surrounding new Phoenix suburbs. Wright wrote that Taliesin West would be “a look over the rim of the world” and that was exactly how it felt to us. The fabulous colours – 50 shades of red dirt – and magic landscapes reminded us of the Kimberley and Pilbara regions where we both met, worked and lived for several years. A very special place.
For more on Frank Lloyd Wright and his works see Artsy’s Frank Lloyd Wright website.