Scottsdale is Home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Desert-Inspired Winter Haven
Turns out, famous architects adore Arizona’s plentiful sunshine and expansive desert views. Frank Lloyd Wright loved it so much that he built his winter home, Taliesin West, just east of Scottsdale in 1937. It’s a sprawling, stunning estate at the base of the McDowell Mountains.
Like many transplants, Wright saw Arizona as the perfect location to live, do business and settle down. He had a strong connection to the Sonoran Desert, inspired by the “low, long, sweeping lines” and “uptilting planes.” He recognized an artistry in the patterns repeated in the region’s flora and fauna: cholla, saguaro, Gila monsters, rattlesnakes, and staghorn.
At Taliesin West, Wright let the surrounding landscape influence the building design. The numerous rooms are replete with natural light, and the walls are built with local rocks, stacked within wood frames and filled with concrete – which was referred to as “desert masonry.” This decision was intentional, as Wright wanted to use materials that were readily available. The finished structure included a dining room, cabaret theater, music pavilion, pool and several other rooms.
Today, Taliesin West serves as the headquarters for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Both Taliesin and Taliesin West are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
See Taliesin West for yourself – tours are available daily from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., but reservations are recommended. Wright made an indelible mark on the Valley: you can also find Wright’s “Blue Spire” sculpture at the Scottsdale Promenade, or the Wright-designed Grady Gammage Auditorium on the Arizona State University campus.