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Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Partners with OA+D Archives to Steward Taliesin Architects Archive

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Jul 28, 2021

OA+D Archives and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation have partnered to steward the historically significant Taliesin Architects archive.

Following Frank Lloyd Wright’s death in 1959, his remaining apprentices maintained their community and commraderie by forming the architectual firm, Taliesin Associated Architects – later known as Taliesin Architects (TA). This new firm continued to produce designs inspired by Wright’s teachings until 2003. For over 60 years, the materials produced by TA were kept on the grounds of Taliesin West, Wright’s winter home and studio in Arizona. Through a gift from the Foundation, OA+D will receive these archival materials and join them with other related work from its own collections to create a more complete record of the work of the Taliesin Fellowship following Wright’s death.

The TA collection now represents a distinct opportunity to view a relatively unexplored aspect of organic architecture’s history. Taliesin Architects operated for over 40 years after the passing of Frank Lloyd Wright, designing and building structures around the globe. The collection contains examples by some of the most recognizable students who learned directly from Wright: Curtis Besinger, Corneila Brierly, Davy Davison, David Dodge, Jack Howe, William Wesley Peters, Ling Po, John Rattenbury, Vernon D. Swaback, Edgar Tafel, and many more. Their collective body of work includes not only single and multi-family residential designs, but creative solutions for performing arts venues, commercial, government, religious, educational, and large-scale urban planning projects. Each design embodies and furthers the principles of organic architecture as taught by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Preserving these artifacts and making them accessible to researchers and enthusiasts will help to better understand the impact of Wright’s legacy on modernism in the 20th century. This collection shines a new light onto the role that Taliesin Architects played in keeping those ideals vibrant and alive into the 21st century. This is an exciting opportunity to explore TA’s role in this history, through tens of thousands of drawings, photographs, slides, models, correspondence, project files, and more.

OA+D Archives already holds an impressive amount of material related to Taliesin apprentices and the history of the Taliesin Fellowship. Between bequests from individual architects and their families and open purchases, OA+D Archives has collected a diverse range of historical records. This partnership places them within the broader context of the Taliesin Fellowship and creates new research opportunities that promise a more significant, meaningful, and comprehensive look into the Wright legacy.

This step forward in preservation marks one of the many efforts the Foundation has taken to steward the archival materials associated with Wright’s legacy. By placing them into the hands of specialized archivists with conservation resources not available to the Foundation, this legacy is more secure, and at the same time is more available to the scholars, historians, and the public than was possible at Taliesin West.The Foundation began this new chapter of greater access and preservation in 2012, when the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives were transferred to Columbia University’s Avery Architechtural & Fine Arts Library and the Museum of Modern Art. Since that transfer, scholarly interest in Wright’s work has increased many times over, accomplishing the Foundation’s objective to perpetuate interest in Wright’s work.

Exhibition opportunities that utilize the resources of the TA Collection will be pursued by the Foundation and other arts organizations. An outreach program to engage with private and public owners of TA-designed buildings will help inform the preservation of these historic structures and their impact on society.

Learn more about OA+D Archives and how you can help support their efforts by visiting here.