Under Arizona Skies: The Apprentice Desert Shelters at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West
Nestled among the cactus thickets and dry washes of the Arizona desert lies an intriguing landscape of architectural experiments. Sometimes ... Show synopsis Nestled among the cactus thickets and dry washes of the Arizona desert lies an intriguing landscape of architectural experiments. Sometimes encompassing a palo verde tree or suspended many feet above the desert floor, these small dwellings, conceived by architecture students as alternatives to dormitory rooms, embrace--and in their own way, celebrate--the natural, rugged terrain surrounding Frank Lloyd Wrights Taliesin West. The earliest shelters were created by adventurous apprentices at the Taliesin Fellowship, a school for architects established by Frank Lloyd Wright in the mid-1930s. After Wrights death, a more structured school--the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture--was established, and the practice of designing and building a personal dwelling became a unique feature of the schools curriculum. Wright insisted that there would be no armchair architects at his school; apprentices would learn through hard work and first-hand experience. The response to this directive has been astonishingly creative. In addition to honing their design and drafting skills, students comb the desert for dwelling sites; consider the effects of extreme temperature change and winter rain; gather construction materials from surrounding hills and dry riverbeds; and thoroughly explore what Wright termed "organic architecture." Collected in "Under Arizona Skies" are photographs and architectural plans of the most exemplary student shelters built at Taliesin West, as well as personal accounts written by Victor E. Sidy, Dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, and Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, Director of Archives at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.