The Frank Lloyd Wright Blog is an ongoing project dedicated to documenting the inventory of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture; the personal and professional biography of Frank Lloyd Wright; and understanding the abstract concepts of Frank Lloyd Wright's philosophy. If you have photos of Frank Lloyd Wright structures that you would like to offer for use on the blog, please email to

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Taliesin West: Frank Lloyd Wright's Conquest of the Desert. Scottsdale, Arizona 1937

Posted by George Pudlo on April 17, 2013 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I learned of a site twenty-six miles from Phoenix, across the desert of the vast Paradise Valley. On up to a great mesa in the mountains. On the mesa just below McDowell Peak we stopped, turned, and looked around. The top of the world!

These words are quoted from Frank Lloyd Wright's An Autobiography, describing his first view of the land that is now occupied by Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West. 

Magnificent -beyond words to describe! Splendid mystic desert vegetation...

Anybody that knows anything about Frank Lloyd Wright knows that nature was the inspiration behind his architecture. In fact, Wright said the his religion was Nature with a capital "N". Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's whimsical winter camp, was built according to the landscape of the desert. Frank Lloyd Wright was quite familiar with Arizona by the time he built Taliesin West in 1937, having first journeyed there in 1928 to consult on the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, and lived there temporarily in 1929 in his Ocatillo Desert Camp in Chandler, Arizona, while developing the unbuilt San-Marcos-in-the-Desert compound for Dr. Alexander Chandler.

The 1930's were a time of revival for Frank Lloyd Wright on both a personal and professional level. The 1920's had been tumultuous years for Wright; he finally received a divorce from his first wife Catherine "Kitty" Tobin, with whom he'd been estranged from since he built Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin in 1911, and he finally married Miriam Noel, whom he met shortly after the Taliesin Tragedy in 1914. The marriage with Miriam Noel was short-lived, and by the time their divorce was in order, Wright had met his third and final wife, Olgivanna Hinzenburg. From a professional standpoint, few of Wright's projects came to fruition in the 1920's, among them were the concrete textile block houses and the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, and a home for his cousin, Richard Lloyd-Jones in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The early 1930's weren't so great for Wright, either. He nearly lost Taliesin to the bank, and subsequently formed the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation with investors to get himself out of debt. 

In 1932, the Taliesin Fellowship was formed as Frank Lloyd Wright's school of architecture. With unusually disciplined methods, the Taliesin Fellowship learned by doing, which included building their own shelters. The mid 1930's brought about two of Frank Lloyd Wright's greatest executed projects: Fallingwater and the SC Johnson Administration Building. In 1937, Frank Lloyd Wright's commission for Fallingwater was $7,800, and he took that $7,800 and poured it into the development of his third and final home and studio complex, Taliesin West. 

After a serious bout of pneumonia that nearly took Wright's life, it was suggested by both Wright's doctor and his wife Olgivanna to spend his winters outside of Wisconsin's harsh climate. And from 1937 onward, summers with the Wright's were spent at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and winters were spent in Scottsdale, Arizona at Taliesin West. The annual caravan down to Taliesin West included not only Frank Lloyd Wright and Olgivanna Wright, but also their children and the entire Taliesin Fellowship. 

As with Wright's previous homes that he built for himself -the Oak Park Home & Studio, and Taliesin- Taliesin West was an ongoing project, one which he altered and refined until his death. When Taliesin West was first built, it was truly a desert camp. The roofs and openings were covered in canvas to allow for protection, and a beautiful, warm glow in the interiors. Windows weren't installed at Taliesin West until the later 1940's through the early 1950's, at the demand of Olgivanna. Wright later said it was one of the best ideas he'd had. The final rendition of Taliesin West stood and stands as a series of buildings, including offices, studios, living quarters, theaters, and recreational space, interconnected by concrete terraces and low walls of what Wright termed "desert stone".

Today, Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West is owned and maintained by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and functions as their headquarters and site of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives.

View of pool between the living quarters and Kiva at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West

Foreground: Frank Lloyd Wright's Office at Taliesin West      Background: Theater at Taliesin West

Passing the studio and workshop at Taliesin West, leading to a wading pool and living quarters

Studio and workshop at left, connected to the dining hall at right, Taliesin West

Dining Hall at Taliesin West

Entrance to the Cabaret at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West

Cabaret at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, built 1949

Cabaret at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, built 1949

Outside of the "Great Room" at Taliesin West


Entering the Taliesin West complex in Scottsdale, Arizona

Music Pavilion at Taliesin West, the last building constructed at Taliesin West, 1956

Taliesin West in the desert of Arizona

Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium at Arizona State University, Frank Lloyd Wright, Tempe, Arizona 1959

Posted by George Pudlo on April 15, 2013 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium
Frank Lloyd Wright
Tempe, Arizona

The Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium was one of Frank Lloyd Wright's last, large-scale commissions. Wright designed the auditorium in 1959, and did not live to see it come to fruition. After Wright's death in 1959, construction was supervised by Frank Lloyd Wright's successor firm, Taliesin Associated Architects, with William Wesley Peters as the leader. Wes Peters, as he was known, worked closely with Frank Lloyd Wright for decades. Peters assisted with the construction of both Fallingwater and the Johnson Administration Building, among many other Wright projects. Peters became Frank Lloyd Wright's son-in-law when he married Wright's adopted daughter, Svetlana, who was the biological daughter of Wright's third and final wife, Olgivanna. Sadly, Svetlana and her son Daniel (Peters was the father) died in a car accident in 1946. Interestingly, Wes Peters then married another Svetlana, the only daughter of Joseph Stalin. 

Under Wes Peters' supervision, the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium opened in 1964 on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Wright's auditorium is circular in form, and comprised primarily of concrete. The stylized ornament surrounding the exterior of the Gammage Auditorium resembles curtains opening, appropriate for the function of the building. 


Harold Price Sr. House, Frank Lloyd Wright, Phoenix, Arizona 1954

Posted by George Pudlo on April 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Harold Price Sr. House
Frank Lloyd Wright
Phoenix (Paradise Valley), Arizona

Frank Lloyd Wright designed this house as a winter home for Harold Price Sr. in 1954. Wright and Price had previously worked together to build Wright's only executed skyscraper -the Price Tower, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The Harold Price Sr. House is truly a desert dwelling. The roof is raised from the walls of the house with steel piping to allow for a breeze inside the home. The house is very private, with walls of concrete block surrounding the property. Wright's Price House is nestled into the landscape of the desert at the bottom of a hill, not far from Mummy Mountain. 

David Wright House, Frank Lloyd Wright, Phoenix, Arizona 1950

Posted by George Pudlo on April 15, 2013 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

David Wright House
Frank Lloyd Wright
Phoenix, Arizona

Frank Lloyd Wright designed this unusual house for his son David Wright in 1950. The David Wright House is located on a fairly large plot in the desert of Phoenix, Arizona. As with many of Frank Lloyd Wright's later commissions, the David Wright House emphasizes the circle, as seen in the circular ramp surrounding the house, the circular massing of the house, and the circular and semi-circular windows. Circular columns raise the main living quarters above the earth. At the time of the house's design and construction, citrus groves obstructed the view of the mountains, so the house was elevated to enhance the view and to take advantage of the desert breeze. The David Wright House is composed of concrete blocks, with stylized concrete for the trim. The only exposed wood on the exterior of the house is seen in the casings of the windows and doors. 

The David Wright House is currently the center of a historic preservation battle in Phoenix. David Wright, born in Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park Home and Studio in 1895, lived in the house upon its completion in 1952 until his death in 1997. Gladys Wright, David Wright's widow, lived in the house until her passing in 2008. The David Wright House was then sold in 2009 by relatives of the Wrights to JT Morning Glory Enterprises LP who, according to the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office, intended to restore the house and live in it. However, JT Morning Glory Enterprises LP then sold the David Wright House to 8081 Meridian, a real estate development firm, in 2012. 8081 Meridian filed an application with the City of Phoenix to split the property into two lots, with the new line of separation to exist where the David Wright House is standing, meaning the David Wright House would be demolished to build two, new custom homes by 8081 Meridian. 

The David Wright House meets the City of Phoenix's criteria for landmark designation, however the process of securing this status is more difficult than it seems, especially if the owners are not seeking it. The Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy, based in Chicago, Illinois, is working closely with the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office to achieve Historic Preservation-Landmark overlay zoning. As of the publishing of this article, April 15, 2013, the decision is still pending.

Norman Lykes House, Frank Lloyd Wright, Phoenix, Arizona 1959-1966

Posted by George Pudlo on April 10, 2013 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Norman Lykes House
Frank Lloyd Wright
Phoenix, Arizona

The Norman Lykes House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at the very end of the architect's long life and career in 1959, and was constructred posthumously in 1966. As with many of Frank Lloyd Wright's later designs, the Norman Lykes House makes use of the circle in its composition. Concentric circles create the various levels of this complex house. Frank Lloyd Wright's concept of organic architecture called for consideration of the structure's site, and the Norman Lykes House is firmly situated and nestled into its mountainous desert landscape, overlooking Phoenix below. 

Norman Lykes' wife, Aimee Lykes, first became acquainted with Wright's architecture while studying at the University of Chicago, where the Robie House, one of Wright's most famed Prairie Houses, is located. 

Benjamin Adelman House, Frank Lloyd Wright, Phoenix, Arizona 1951

Posted by George Pudlo on April 10, 2013 at 12:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Benjamin Adelman House

Frank Lloyd Wright

Phoenix, Arizona


The Benjamin Adelman House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is located next door to the Jorgine Boomer House, another Frank Lloyd Wright design built in 1953. Interestingly, the houses do no resemble each other despite being built relatively close together in proximity and time by Wright. 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Benjamin Adelman House is built with walls of concrete blocks, however not in the same method as his concrete block system of the 1920's. The house has been lovingly restored by its owners to fit into the landscape, the entry was at one point covered with unsightly asphalt. The corner windows, especially with their red trim, recall Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater

The Adelmans owned a successful laundry business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This house was Benjamin Adelman's winter retreat.  In 1948, Frank Lloyd Wright designed a house for Benjamin Adelman's son, the Albert Adelman House, just outside of Milwaukee. 

Jorgine Boomer House, Frank Lloyd Wright, Phoenix, Arizona 1953

Posted by George Pudlo on April 10, 2013 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Jorgine Boomer House
Frank Lloyd Wright
Phoenix, Arizona

Frank Lloyd Wright designed this house for Jorgine Boomer in 1953. The house is located next door to another Frank Lloyd Wright designed house, the Benjamin Adelman House, built in 1951. The Boomer House is an interesting conception of a desert house, highly angular in composition with roof lines that soar into the sky. The house is constructed with what Wright referred to as "desert stone", concrete inlaid with large rocks founds in the desert. The site magnifies the presence of the Boomer House with its desert landscape.

Jorgine Boomer commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design this house for her after her husband, Lucius Boomer, died in a 1947 plane crash. The Boomers owned the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City during its heyday, from 1918 until the late 1940's. They owned and managed the original Waldorf-Astoria until it was demolished in 1929 to construct the Empire State Building, and then owned the current Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue in Manhattan until it became a Hilton Hotel in 1949. 


Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Albert McArthur and Frank Lloyd Wright, Phoenix, Arizona 1927

Posted by George Pudlo on April 10, 2013 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Arizona Biltmore Hotel
Albert McArthur
with Frank Lloyd Wright as consulting architect
Phoenix, Arizona,

One of the most common misconceptions about the Arizona Biltmore Hotel is that it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. In fact, the architect of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel was Albert McArthur, with Frank Lloyd Wright as a consulting architect. Albert McArthur designed the Biltmore using Frank Lloyd Wright's method of concrete block construction that was first introduced in Wright's La Miniatura commission in Pasedena, California, and subsequently refined in the Ennis House, Storer House, and Freeman House - all built in Los Angeles, California in the early to mid 1920's. The pattern on the concrete blocks of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel was designed by a local artist, Emry Kopta.

Frank Lloyd Wright first met Albert McArthur when McArthur was a child. Frank Lloyd Wright designed a house in Chicago for Warren McArthur, Albert McArthur's father and a friend of Wright's, in 1892. The Warren McArthur House was one of Wright's earliest designs, and was built while Frank Lloyd Wright was still employed by Louis Sullivan. The Warren McArthur House is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's "bootleg houses" -designed without the consent of Sullivan. Albert McArthur later worked under Frank Lloyd Wright in Wright's Oak Park studio from 1907-1909.

When the Arizona Biltmore Hotel opened in 1929, the surrounding area of Phoenix was still largely undeveloped, and the Biltmore hotel was dubbed "The Jewel of the Desert".  In 1930, the Arizona Biltmore Hotel was purchased by one of the original investors, William Wrigley Jr. of the chewing gum empire. The Wrigleys owned the Arizona Biltmore Hotel until 1973. Today, the area around the hotel is mixed residential and commercial, but it is still a fine hotel in superb condition. One absolutely feels the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright when viewing and experiencing the Arizona Biltmore. 

Raymond Carlson House by Frank Lloyd Wright, Phoenix, Arizona 1950

Posted by George Pudlo on April 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Raymond Carlson House

Frank Lloyd Wright

Phoenix, Arizona


Frank Lloyd Wright designed this modern house for Raymond Carlson in 1950. The house is located on a corner lot in a subdivision in Phoenix, Arizona. Wright's Carlson House features walls of glass that connect the interior and exterior for the indoor-outdoor lifestyle of Arizona. Clerestory windows line the top of the building to allow additional light to the interior, while the overhang in the roof eaves, originally used in Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie houses, protects the the interior from harsh, direct light. Much of Frank Lloyd Wright's early designs featured earthy tones, but his later work often employed bright colors, such as the turquoise seen on the Carlson House.

Frank Lloyd Wright's First Christian Church in Phoenix, Arizona 1950

Posted by George Pudlo on April 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

First Christian Church

Frank Lloyd Wright

Phoenix, Arizona


The design for this Frank Lloyd Wright church in Phoenix, Arizona was originally apart of a larger design for a university commissioned by the Southwest Christian Seminary in 1949. The original scheme as designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1950 was to include a chapel, administrative rooms, theater, faculty quarters, and a library. Wright's overall plan for the Southwest Christian Seminary was never carried out, and the First Christian Church, founded in Phoenix in 1952, was aware of the unbuilt project. The church sought permission from Olgivanna Wright, Wright's third and final wife and head of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation until her death in 1985, to use the drawings to construct a new church building for their growing congregation. 

Construction of Wright's design began in 1971, more than a decade after Wright's death, and opened in 1973. Geometry was a significant element of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural design, and the triangle is seen throughout the First Christian Church in the floor plan, conceived as a double triangle, and in the columns and spire. Concrete and steel are the primary structural materials. Wright rarely conceived walls in the traditional sense, and the First Christian Church is no exception with its walls of glass connecting the interior and exterior of the building. Much of Frank Lloyd Wright's Arizona architecture features what he called "desert stone" - concrete inlaid with large fragments of stone found in the desert. Frank Lloyd Wright's desert stone can be seen surrounding the First Christian Church and within the bell tower, which rises 120 feet and was constructed in 1978 according to Wright's design. 

Marin County Civic Center: Frank Lloyd Wright, 1957-1969.

Posted by George Pudlo on January 27, 2013 at 1:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Marin County Civic Center

Frank Lloyd Wright was selected to be the architect of the Marin County Civic Center in 1957 after Marin County Supervisor Vera Schultz read a House Beautiful magazine dedicated entirely to Wright. It was a lengthy project, and one that Wright would not live to see completed. 

In July of 1957, Frank Lloyd Wright spoke at a public meeting at San Rafael High School. The following day Wright visited the future site of the Marin County Civic Center for the first time, and in typical Wright fashion, announced that he already had a plan for the building. Preliminary plans for the civic center were presented to and approved by the Board of Supervisors in the following year, and a model of the campus was displayed. 


Model of Marin County Civic Center

In 1959, Wright was selected to design the United States Post Office -the only federal building executed by Wright. Frank Lloyd Wright died the following month on April 9, but the board voted to continue on with Wright's plans, which were then handled by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, specifically Wesley Peters and Aaron Greene. Construction of the multi-million dollar civic center began in 1960, and the Administration Building was dedicated in 1962. Construction of the second phase of the civic center was approved in 1963, with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation commissioned for the Hall of Justice. The Marin County Civic Center was completed near the end of 1969. 

United States Post Office designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

The Marin County Civic Center is an example of Frank Lloyd Wright's organic architecture -it considers not only the client, but the site as well, the civic center is integrated with its hilly landscape. The Administration Building is 580 feet long, and intersects with 880 foot long Hall of Justice at a 120 degree angle. The Marin County Civic Center was not only Frank Lloyd Wright's last commission, but his largest completed project. 

Exterior view of the Marin County Civic Center

Rooftop of the Marin County Civic Center Hall of Justice

 Interior view of the Marin County Civic Center Hall of Justice

George Sturges House: Frank Lloyd Wright, 1939.

Posted by George Pudlo on January 26, 2013 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)


The George Sturges House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939 -more than a decade after his concrete textile block houses of the 1920's. The George Sturges House is indicative of America's then fascination with speed and various modes of transportation. It looks to be in motion, and has been compared to a fast moving ship. It is dramatically situated on its site, with a massive, cantilevered balcony soaring over the hillside.



Frank Lloyd Wright designed the George Sturges House shortly after he designed what is perhaps his most well known house, Fallingwater, in 1937. Though Fallingwater certainly has a more dramatic landscape, the cantilevering concept is one that Wright mastered in many of his projects, the Sturges House included. The wooden balcony extends from a firmly rooted base of brick, with brick also seen rising in masses, accenting the top of the house. The horizontal wooden siding, sometimes board and batten, expresses a horizontal nature reminiscent of Wright's Prairie period of the early 20th Century. A wooden trellis hanging over the balcony accentuates the horizontality. The interior of the Sturges House is characterized with redwood walls and exposed redwood beams in the ceiling that give it somewhat of a Crafstman feel. After Sturges moved into the house, it was plagued with leaks from the wooden roof and he later installed rain funnels.


Frank Lloyd Wright hired John Lautner to supervise the construction of the George Sturges House. Lautner was just beginning to establish a name for himself in Los Angeles as a serious architect, and he built his own home there the same year. Lautner was an apprentice of Wright's and studied under him at the Taliesin Fellowship, Frank Lloyd Wright's school of architecture at Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona, from 1933 through the end of the decade. Lautner and Wright continued a professional relationship into the 1940's, with Lautner assisting Wright with a remodel of the Ennis House, and Wright's residential project for Arch Oboler in 1941. Frank Lloyd Wright and John Lautner's association ended by the mid 1940's when Lautner had fully established himself, though he continued to have much praise and admiration for Wright and carried on Wright's concept of organic architecture in his own work.





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