Taliesin Next—Natural Mimicry and the Quest for Sustainability

March 6, 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.

Vali Homes is a developer that believes buildings can take care of its inhabitants, rather than having people have to take care of the building. Vali buildings are inspired by nature, artfully created, and scientifically tested to deliver an entirely new level of mindful living. Each Vali is built to be in perfect balance with its environment and achieves leading-edge efficiency while delivering year-round comfort, mountain-clean air, and a peaceful refuge from city life.

In this presentation, Matthew Salenger, Austin Trautman, and Eric Watson—all of Vali—will describe their inspiration and thought process, focusing on how the science of construction, biophilia, biomimicry, and technology can provide a better way to live in the future.

Matthew Salenger is an artist, architect, and construction fanatic. He was raised on the small island of Maui, finished his education in Britain, and has (mostly) lived in Arizona since 1993. Matthew studied figure painting and architecture for 10 years, and graduated with honors from the Architectural Association of London in 1999. Over the past 20 years he has created a number of complex and highly visible projects around the United States acquiring over 25 design awards. Deeply driven to find real-world and repeatable solutions for regenerative construction, Matthew studies Biomimicry, Biophilia, Integral Theory, and Sociology. In addition to pushing the boundaries of progressive construction, his volunteer work is dedicated to improving social and economic conditions, including his co-founding of the Urban Choices Group in 2012 and the Citizens for a Vibrant Apache Corridor group in 2014, both dedicated to improving thriving downtown areas in Arizona. Matthew is a member of the AIA, and member/ambassador of the ILFI.

Austin Trautman founded Vali Homes, LLC. Development Company and Sustainability Consultancy to provide Phoenix with affordable in-fill housing focused on contemporary design with high energy efficiency. Austin wants to live in a world where people flock to increasingly dynamic, comfortable and fulfilling urban centers.  As general instigator, he has been lauded by a wide variety of luminaries including Phoenix NPR affiliate, KJZZ; InhabitatResidential Architect; Arizona Horizon; American Institute of Architects; Builder Magazine, and the front page of the Arizona Republic. Austin believes the best solutions are a mix of relentless scientific discovery and improvement guided by what the natural world has already figured out.  He draws on widely varied experiences combined with specific knowledge to ensure his next collaboration is his best yet.

Eric Watson is passionate about research, exploration, and testing of some the most important topics in architecture and construction—including, efficient construction methods, energy conservation strategies, and innovative use of materials. As an early adopter of building information modeling, environmental analysis tools, and virtual reality concepts, he strives to evolve the traditional role of the architect. Eric has worked in architecture for over 17 years and has over 500,000 square feet of award winning architecture design and construction experience. Eric received his Masters of Architecture Degree and Bachelor of Environmental Design from Montana State University in 2001, and is a licensed architect in the State of Arizona.  In his free time, Eric is an avid hiker and outdoorsman, as well as an active member of the AIA and USGBC.


Taliesin West Music Pavilion


6:30 p.m.


Free but registration required.

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