Last week I visited Taliesin for the first time and was surprised in ways that I would not have guessed. The place has a ramshackle, cocky attitude, sophisticated and homespun at the same time.
Last week I visited Taliesin for the first time and was surprised in ways that I would not have guessed. The place has a ramshackle, swaggering attitude, sophisticated and homespun at the same time. That night, I dreamed that FLW was a Pirate!
The journey up to the “brow of the hill” follows a gently ascending roadway, spiraling clockwise from the valley floor, around the back, and finally to the side of the compound. To me, the place appears to be a small fortified village; I could imagine a defended well or spring at it’s core. The entrance to the compound is obscured; stairways hinting at entry, like so many stair-streets in Mediterranean hill towns.
Upon passing through the compressive, very low roof, the view opens up to a very lovely garden, even in it’s current decrepit state (more on this later). Prominently featured at the far side of the courtyard garden is the converted stable building.
The general layout of the buildings and exterior space reminds me of Mayan and other Mesoamerican compound arrangements, similar to Uxmal or Tikal in central america.
And now for a Call to Action: Taliesin is in awful shape, and getting worse. After FLW’s death, his wife created Taliesin architects to finish up work that was still pending and on the boards. That entity is no more, and with 30 students a year and very aged Trustees, it’s going to take a miracle to save the place.
Or… perhaps Brad Pitt?
Frank Lloyd Wright led a rather tumultuous love life, one that was punctuated by an axe-murder and fire, which is to be the subject of a new film. Bruce Beresford of “Driving Miss Daisy” fame is set to develop and direct “Taliesin,” a film named for the home he built for himself and his then married mistress, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Mr. Pitt, if you are going to “be” FLW, please do what you can to help preserve Taliesin.
About the author
Mark English, AIA, Founder and Principal of Mark English Architects, has been working in San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area since 1992. His designs reflect of resourcefulness and efficiency to create high-quality residential design.