Saturday, May 7, 2016

Chinese touches accent Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West

Ceramic Chinese actors decorate posts.
The central Arizona desert is about the last place I expected to see Chinese influences outside of Chinese restaurants, But that’s just where I found them, at Taliesin West, an architectural masterpiece designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the greatest American architect of the 20th century.

The lines of his winter home and school of architecture are clean and pure. Wright’s designs are inspired by nature. Local rocks were turned into walls held together with concrete. The surfaces are rough and coarse, yet seem elegantly in sync with the desert surroundings. The Chinese decorative touches blend in perfectly, not feeling out of place at all.

Scattered throughout Taliesin West, beginning with the entrance, are 13 Chinese theatre scenes that sit in the middle of concrete and rock posts. The scenes represent the various dramas of the Chinese Imperial Theatre.

The scenes are incomplete; our guide says they were broken when he bought them. Architectural students pieced them together and glued them into the concrete. The glue they used, however, didn’t make it through the wet season; pieces fell off and broke. They were replaced.
Dragon head atop roof
As you tour this amazing facility, you’ll come across a dragon‘s head sitting atop a slanted roof. The dragon is a symbol of China.

At another place, you’ll find the traditional bright red door centered with an ornate gold door opener. Just to the right of the door is a huge black gong.

Frank Lloyd Wright bought land n the desert and began building Taliesin West in 1937; he was still working on it when he died in 1959.

 The lines of his house are sleek – and slanted. Clerestory windows let in light from the desert sun. The buildings had features that were so architecturally advanced, it would be decades before they become commonplace. The setting is magnificent, with a backdrop of mountains behind and desert as far as you can see from the front.

 Guided tours of Taliesin West are given throughout the day. You may wish to reserve a time before you arrive as tours fill up quickly on some days. Taliesin West is located north of the intersection of Cactus Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.

Taliesin West




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