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From T-Squares to CAD: Taliesin Across the Generations

Jeff Goodman | Mar 9, 2018

An exploration of technology’s impact on architecture through the perspectives of three generations of Taliesin apprentices.

Frank Lloyd Wright started the Taliesin Fellowship with a group of 23 young apprentices in 1932, creating a legacy of learning by doing that continues today with the School of Architecture at Taliesin. Throughout the decades, generations of architects have honed their craft in the same drafting studios where Wright created masterpieces that continue to push the limits of design and construction. Since that time, technologies have altered the experience in in the Taliesin studios; views of the Arizona desert are obscured by laptop screens and the music of Wisconsin songbirds are muffled by the sounds of a 3D printer.

To explore how technology has impacted the field of architecture, I sat down with three generations of Taliesin apprentices to discuss. Vernon D. Swaback, apprenticed under Wright for more than 2 years, until the master’s passing in 1959. He started his own firm, known today as Swaback, in 1978. Larry Heiny was an apprentice in the 70s and 80s, and is now a partner at heibrid architecture, an international boutique design firm in Arizona. And, finally, Conor Denison is currently pursuing a master’s degree in architecture at the School of Architecture at Taliesin.

The three joined me by a fire in the Garden Room at Taliesin West in January of 2018. Here are some highlights from an enlightening discussion.

Jeff Goodman is the Director of Marketing & Communication of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. 

“From T-Squares to CAD: Taliesin Across the Generations” is featured in the Winter 2018 Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly magazine, “Perspective.” Learn more about the Quarterly here.

News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation