Music Pavilion Roof Restored with Sunbrella Fabric
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Sep 29, 2017
Thanks to a generous donation, the discolored interior canvas ceiling of Taliesin West’s Music Pavilion, has been replaced by a high-quality Sunbrella fabric. We’ve documented the transformation, and process of taking the significant space back to Wright’s intended aesthetic.
Frank Lloyd Wright celebrated the arts at Taliesin West. Indeed, his love of performing arts prompted him to build two performance spaces at his winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona. Today, the Foundation preserves Wright’s legacy by using the spaces as intended, hosting live theatre, music, and salons.
In order to keep this space alive, our preservation team maintains the Music Pavilion using materials that are thoughtful and sustainable, working with industry leaders to incorporate modern technologies while maintaining the historic character of the property.
The Music Pavilion of Taliesin West—like other spaces of the National Historic Landmark—were originally desert camp pavilions. During Wright’s time, the roofing in the Pavilion was made out of canvas, framed by wooden beams.
After Wright’s passing, a fire in the mid 1960’s burned the Music Pavilion to the ground. Only the desert masonry walls survived. To meet the performance needs of the Fellowship at that time, the Music Pavilion was reconstructed with steel beams and the canvas enclosure was replaced with translucent fiberglass, maintaining the filtered daylighting of the space. In the 1990s, the roofing system was again transitioned from fiberglass to an acrylic exterior sheet and a canvas interior panel, to replicate the feel of the original canvas structure.
In the more recent years, to meet code requirements, a flame retardant was applied to the canvas interior panels. Over time the retardant discolored, causing the panels to become unsightly. With a generous donation of fabric from Sunbrella, the preservation team got to work on updating the interior.
Watch the transformation …
With Sunbrella’s donation of new fabric, we’re able to continue Wright’s composition and forward-looking vision by integrating the latest in material technology in this historic Music Pavilion at Taliesin West.
Thank you, Sunbrella!
Sunbrella was founded on the belief that fabrics should be both beautiful and functional. It all began in the late 1950s with the challenge of creating an awning canvas with a substantially longer lifespan than cotton. Since its commercialization in 1961, Sunbrella has become widely adopted for shade structures, marine canvas, and upholstery fabric for both outdoor and indoor applications. Sunbrella fabrics minimally impact the environment, and the brand continues to innovate and provides products that align with Wright’s belief that “form and function are one.”