Taliesin Next—How the Built Environment Shapes our Lives

March 21, 2018
Taliesin West

As Frank Lloyd Wright’s enduring legacy continues to influence innovators to create a more beautiful and sustainable world, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation presents Taliesin Next, a new speaker series that explores how Wright’s legacy can inform the future. The speakers of Taliesin Next present their ideas through a variety of perspectives as diverse as the great architect’s multifaceted legacy.

Former Harvard professor, prizewinning critic, and pathbreaking author, Sarah Williams Goldhagen, in her work, focuses on the many different social values excellent built environmental design promotes. In her most recent book, Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives (HarperCollins, 2017), she, drawing on the latest findings in what we have learned from cognitive neuroscientific revolution about human cognition and well-being, lays the conceptual foundation for a new understanding of how people experience buildings, landscapes, streetscapes, and cities, and explores how architects and other designers, policy makers, clients and users can concretize that knowledge to create more enriching, sociable, and equitable environments. We finally have real, demonstrable knowledge, substantiated with robust evidence, that well-designed built environments enhance children’s emotional, social, and cognitive development, promote adults’ physical health and emotional sense of well-being, increase workers’ productivity, and lay the foundation for communities’ cohesion. Goldhagen’s work provides a roadmap to doing so.

Goldhagen is contributing editor at Architectural Record and at Art in America and was the New Republic’s architecture critic for many years. Her criticism on architecture, urbanism, infrastructure, and landscape architecture, in addition to winning awards in diverse disciplines, has tangibly influenced the conceptualization of major urban projects, including the south portion of Governor’s Island, and the Revson Foundation’s ongoing initiative to promote good design in New York City’s branch library system.

Goldhagen holds an MA and PhD in Art and Architectural History from Columbia University and a BA in English Literature from Brown University. Before devoting herself full-time to writing and consulting about contemporary architecture and the built environment, she taught history and theory for ten years at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and for several years at other institutions.  She has published books that helped shape methodological approaches and the historical understanding of postwar modernism in the United States and Europe: Anxious Modernisms: Experimentation in Postwar Architectural Culture (MIT, 2001), to which Goldhagen co-edited and contributed three essays, and Louis Kahn’s Situated Modernism (Yale, 2001).

Goldhagen’s writings have appeared nationally and internationally, in the US in venues ranging from the scholarly Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians and Harvard Design Magazine to the general interest Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Op-Ed page of the New York Times. She lectures nationally and internationally at universities, museums, and industry conferences on many topics, especially including the critical importance of everyday high-quality design for human individual and social well-being. Her writings and other activities can be found at SarahWilliamsGoldhagen.com.


Taliesin West Music Pavilion


6:30 p.m.


$25; Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation member or student ticket price: $15

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