Enjoying the semi-wild West

We started today with a guided tour of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s “desert laboratory”.

Our guide Bruce pointed out the “clasping hands” symbol on the petroglyph in the Entry Court, which Wright made into the symbol of Taliesin West.

Taliesin West, like many of Wright’s buildings, is long and low-slung, fitting into its environment but not dominating it.

Bruce told us about the principles of Wright’s Organic Architecture and how he applied them here. We followed the paths around the site and entered many of the spaces, both inside and outside.

One of the most famous spaces is “The Prow”, a triangular garden and lawn extending out to a view of the desert.

We spent a few minutes enjoying the Garden Room. Originally, there was no glass in the walls. Wright installed vases in places which would later be glassed-in, but he didn’t allow his apprentices to move them; instead, they had to put holes in the glass to accommodate the vases.

Wright had spent years in Japan building the Imperial Hotel, and this Moon Gate shows the Asian influence in his designs.

We also visited the Wrights’ living quarters; his third wife, Olgivanna, made Taliesin West her permanent residence after Wright died in 1959. Her loom is still there.

The Dining Room Bell called the apprentices to meals.

There wasn’t a lot of entertainment in the Phoenix area, so the residents of Taliesin West had to entertain one another. Wright eventually created a Cabaret Theatre to provide an appropriate space for such gatherings (they also showed movies there).

I don’t think I would have liked to live at Taliesin West, but it would have been a great place to be a guest for a few days!

We had lunch at Zinc Bistro in Kierland Commons before driving to Mesa to visit our friends Sarah and Ray. Sarah was one of our first friends when we all lived in South Florida many years ago, and the last time we saw her and Ray was a brief encounter five years ago at Worldcon 76, so I’m glad we could spend the afternoon and evening with them.

They had promised us a beautiful drive on the Apache Trail as far as Tortilla Flat, and they delivered!

We returned to their house for dinner and conversation; I hope it won’t be as long before we see them again!