Monday, March 16, 2009

March 14: Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West

The main excursion of today, besides picking up 4 12-oz New York Strips for grilling that evening (by the way, great job Alan), was to visit Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home Taliesin West.  In addition to being the Wrights' home, the location also began to function as a school for a few (22-30 per class) of upcoming architects to apprentice under Mr. Wright.  Known for his strong will, extreme attention to detail, and a tenedency to be an outright egotist (case and point: when Wright was ordered to testify at a trial of another architect who was being sued, he was sworn in and asked to state his name and profession.  "Frank Lloyd Wright, World's Greatest Architect" was his reply.  His wife was furious about his remarks and confronted him later about it.  In response he said, "But dear, I was under oath.  I was obligated to tell the truth."), Wright designed and lived in the home each winter from 1937 until his death in 1959.  

At $32 a ticket for a 90-minute tour, the Frank Lloyd Wright foundation makes their goal relatively clear as well.  Visitors were not deterred however, as the parking lot was very full upon arrival and departure.  With tours departing every 30 minutes, presuming 20 people per tour, a cool $10K could be procured on a good day.  Regardless, the tour was wonderful, insightful, and relevant.  The $32 ticket did not seem overpriced once the tour was over.  Among the highlights:

  • A dinner theater room shaped as an irregular hexagon in which whispers from the front (even with the guide's face turned away from the audience) could easily be heard in the back.  A group of sound engineers retrospecively declared the room 95% acoustically sound. 
  • Mr. Wright's personal doctor still lives and works at the compound, in addition to a sculptor who has lived and worked there since 1949
  • Taliesin West is still used for 6-months worth of a participating architect student's education (the other 6 months are held at Taliesin East in Spring Green, WI), which is now offered in a Bachelor and Masters degree format.  
After visting Taliesin West, we headed back to Alan's for dinner and a movie.  The rest of the evening passed in a relatively relaxed fashion, with the knowledge that we'd all need to get up at 5 AM to leave for San Diego the next morning.

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