A Scottsdale Point of Pride: Frank Lloyd Wright

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Posted on August 26, 2017 by Laura Lucky

If you spend even just a little bit of time in Scottsdale, the city’s obvious pride as the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright becomes immediately evident. Truly a cultural icon, and arguably the most famous American architect in history, Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy lives on. We see vestiges of that legacy not only in his pieces of work that are sprinkled throughout the Valley, but in his spirit of innovation and his devotion to creating environments with a desire to “make life more beautiful.” Over the course of his 70-year career, Wright designed 1,114 architectural works and had 532 of them realized. Six of those are right here in the Valley, and two are in Scottsdale.

Taliesin West

Wright’s “desert camp” built at the southern base of the McDowell Mountains is now the home of the enduring Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and his School of Architecture; and has been dedicated as a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1937, its purpose was as a retreat for Wright from the cold Midwest winters and to serve as a headquarters for his Taliesin Fellowship. Designed as an organic structure in harmony and embedded within the desert environment, Taliesin West is comprised of low-slung buildings and was intentionally built with local materials such as desert sand and nearby boulders. A majority of the construction was done by Wright himself and his apprentices, and the project is considered one of his most intimate and personal. Today, tours and events allow visitors a first-hand experience of Wright’s architectural philosophies and the entire sprawling facility is a physical homage to Wright and his vision.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Spire

Newly built in 2004 by the City of Scottsdale, the 125-foot glowing blue spire located on the corner of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and Scottsdale Road is a tribute to the architect and the influence he had on our area. The spire design had originally been proposed for the Arizona State Capitol building back in 1957, but was most likely considered to be much too radical for the time and was thus rejected. Not only has the spire design been resurrected from an old proposal (you can see the proposal on display at Taliesin West), but the site is also home to several other smaller structures gleaned from Wright’s drawings.

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