Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Architectural Delight

Twice during this month I've spent time exploring the grounds and residence at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West located about 10 minutes from my new home in Arizona. Until my first visit with my sister at the beginning of the month, I had no idea that one of the buildings connected with my work place was designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, but it made sense once I learned that. Wright's "bring the outside in" designs that made him famous was so obvious I dont know why I didn't think of it sooner,what with the fish pond and water fall that is the focal point of the building's lobby.

My first visit, we just wandered the grounds enjoying the desert beauty that was so close to the heart of designer who lived here 6
months of the year during the latter part of his life. The house and design studio
seem to organically rise out of the desert floor like a ship that has run aground.

I took the 90 minute tour last week and was completely fascinated by the life of this man who was clearly a genius, but one of a somewhat dubious personal philosophy and practice. The tour guide was knowledgable and personable, one who wore no rose-colored glasses when it came to the personality he presented to us. I appreciated and enjoyed the tour immensely, enough to know I'm going to need to come back and explore further.

Meanwhile, I'm reading T.C. Boyle's The Women which chronicle's Wright's life from the perspective of the women in his life (4 wives and a couple of mistresses). The writing in this book is particularly beautiful making it a joy to read for that reason alone. The stories of these women are also compelling...and sad in the long run. Wright was charismatic enough to attract these (and others) women, but didn't seem to know how to take care of a relationship for any length of time. But the writing...it's as beautiful as F. Scott Fitzgerald or Alan Paton or Willa Cather. Just. Plain. Amazing.

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