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News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

New Desert Masonry Gateway Structure Unveiled at Taliesin West

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Apr 29, 2019

After weeks of staff, student, and community volunteer efforts, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation unveiled a stunning new desert masonry gateway structure, to signify Taliesin West’s main passageway.

When Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and desert camp in Scottsdale, Arizona, was constructed in 1938 – it was built by apprentices using desert masonry, a technique that involves sourcing sand and stones from the surrounding desert. Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation staff, School of Architecture at Taliesin students, and community volunteers recently had the opportunity to continue this tradition of both learning by doing, and building using desert masonry.

This collaborative, weeks-long effort resulted in the creation of a striking new gateway structure at Taliesin West. The new gateway structure was built to increase security and signify Taliesin West’s main passageway, at the bottom of Taliesin Drive, and was made possible by a generous grant awarded to the Foundation from American Express.

An up-close view of the desert masonry walls in the forms for the new gateway structure at Taliesin West.

This new gateway will help increase site security and provide better wayfinding for the over 110,000 guests that visit Taliesin West annually. In addition to desert masonry, an older metal gate was repurposed and incorporated into the design of the new gate structure. Students from the School of Architecture at Taliesin contributed to the initial concept designs for the new gate.

Volunteers work together to pour concrete and place stones in the forms for the desert masonry gateway structure at Taliesin West.

Volunteers working on the desert masonry gateway structure at Taliesin West.

Stuart Graff, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation President and CEO (left), Chris Jason, Foundation Education Coordinator (middle), and a volunteer (right) working with concrete as they assist with the desert masonry gateway structure at Taliesin West.

James Trahan of 180 Degrees Design + Build (left), Nelda L Tripp-Johnson of American Express (middle), and Stuart Graff, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation President and CEO (right) make remarks during the official opening of the new gateway on Monday, April 29, 2019.

“It was a great experience to see how many volunteers came out to help us build the desert masonry walls,” Emily Butler, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Preservation Manager said. “Several people even drove in from out of state to be involved. I think that this speaks to the community spirit and legacy of learning by doing the Wright promoted at Taliesin West and Taliesin. You gain a deep connection to a place when you help to build it, which is what I hope all of the volunteers got out of the experience.”

Volunteers traveled from all over the country to participate in the project and worked over one hundred collective hours to complete the gateway. In addition to staff, volunteer, and student involvement, 180 Degrees Design + Build, a local Phoenix firm who has worked with the Foundation on other projects in the past, acted as the general contractor for the project, coordinating and executing all work that needed to be completed.

On Monday, April 29, those who participated in the project gathered at Taliesin West, to formally celebrate the completion of the project and see the how their contributions added to the overall beauty of the site.

Volunteers, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation staff, and community members gather to celebrate the official opening of the new gateway on Monday, April 29, 2019.

James Trahan of 180 Degrees Design + Build (left), Nelda L Tripp-Johnson of American Express (middle), and Stuart Graff, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation President and CEO (right) officially opening the new gateway on Monday, April 29, 2019.

 

 

This project was made possible by a generous grant awarded to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation from American Express.

News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation