Dear friends of Artisan Architects,
I was hit with a surprised grief and realization that an end of an era of architecture is upon us. I received notification from my client and friend, Contractor Jay True mentioned the news that the Frank Lloyd Wrights Archives will be moved to New York. An architect friend who practices in Phoenix immediately responded to the forwarded news with “They’re going to a far, far better (and safer!) place.”
I must agree. Yet this spells the end of Taliesin West as anything more than a museum to a bygone era of architecture. I hope the school advances and captures the interest of a new generations of organic architects. The sense of the reality of that studio as the birth place of such amazing work I fear will fade as quickly as Arizona sunset without those archives.
When I was on staff as a draftsmen between 1985-87 you could smell the smoke from Wright’s Pipe so to speak. You could sit in his custom designed lazy boy style recliner and have tea… It was magical and a little weird.
Sure the fellowship was only doing CPR on the corpse of Mr. and Mrs. Wrights utopian artists community vision but the drawings, the heritage, the tapes of his Sunday chats, his clothes; Her leopards throat coat, the car’s where still there. Yes he had been dead twenty nine years but Olgavanah his third wife had only been gone two years. His and Her ashes where there. That was the grand controlling woman’s last act of defiance of the other woman in his life and her husband as well. When those drawings, artifacts and objects get to NYC it’s all over. They will go into sterilized vaults, clean rooms and the last touch stone of the man’s working environment, other the his magnificent buildings still extent, will be history. While I yet waxed philosophical the friend replied again…
“ Stick a fork in it already…they still can’t get a window or door to seal properly after 70+ years or trying! Frank & Olgavanah are both long dead and the foundation has some other very serious issues to worry about instead of spending $$$ on a real archive. Just be thankful these drawings didn’t turn to dust or burn up during your watch. And if they would also kindly ship Frank back to Spring Green where he belongs the great circle of architectural life would be complete!
On a similar note…have you been following the on-going story (saga) about tearing down the David Wright house in Arcadia?!! Now that’s something to really get worked up about!”
And that is equally true. That is agreat house designed as a gift for David Wright. Perhaps one of the most complete visions and well constructed works of Wright I have seen. And I have seen many …When I saw it a few years back before it was sold I knew in my bones it was the great man’s apology to the oldest son who took care of the family when he ran off with Mahma Chaney his clients wife. He left his eldest son, six siblings and distraught wife in 1909 with a $900 butcher bill. His work of apology for that deed is really special; an amazing expression of three dimensional sculpture for living. His Son David treasured it, and resisted the public and all architecture intruders from sharing this part of his life. It is well maintained and entirely original including carpets and some furniture designed by Wright. It will be a crime to let the developer who now owns the property tare the house down. Preservation is a noble thing for obvious reasons. A petition to save that house follows as Mr. Wright might say “Get on it boy’s”...