Students from The University of Texas at San Antonio Learn By Doing At Taliesin West
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Jul 28, 2023
This past June, the Taliesin Institute hosted seven students from The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) who traveled to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter camp, to live at and survey the UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of their Architectural Surveys and Measured Drawings class, taught by Sue Ann Pemberton, FAIA, FAPT, and senior lecturer with the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning within the Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design.
While here, the students focused on documentation and interpretation of the site and buildings using graphic recording techniques. In an ongoing partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
Students from UTSA have been studying Taliesin West since 2014, with the exception of 2020 and 2021. Each year the architecture students survey a different building on campus, and this summer their work focused on the Garden Room and Dining Cove.
The students completed their work according to the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) standards. They worked in teams for four weeks studying the two spaces while also learning about Wright’s design and construction process. Using state-of-the-art and traditional equipment, including a Matterport scanner, photogrammetry, hand measure, and large format photography, they took detailed measurements, constructed digital models, sketched, photographed, and researched historical archives to gain a complete perspective of each space.
Upon completion of the project, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation will receive the students’ documentation files for archival purposes and submission into the Library of Congress.
Once accepted, the detailed documentation will be free for the public to view. Pemberton and the students will also submit the documents to the Peterson Prize, a national student competition sponsored by the National Park Service, the American Institute of Architects, and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.
In 2022, The University of Texas at San Antonio, School of Architecture, earned the first-place award for their submission to the Peterson Prize for their documentation of the Taliesin West Dining Room.
During their stay, students also were given an in-depth preservation tour of Taliesin West, hiked the grounds, and took field trips to the Grand Canyon, Watchtower and south rim, Montezuma Castle and Well, Tuzigoot National Monument, Cosanti, Arcosanti, Gamage Theatre (outside only), Jerome and Sedona, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and the Oak Creek Canyon Overlook. Additionally, the students toured several Frank Lloyd Wright buildings including the Gladys and David Wright House, Price House, Boomer House, the Arizona Biltmore, and the Ada Rose and Nick Macusi House (former students at Taliesin).
The work the students do while here plays a key role in the ongoing preservation efforts at Taliesin West. According to David Woodcock, FAIA, “As more and more professionals work focuses on existing building stock, the HABS graduate plays a critical role in guiding the wise use of historic resources.” The Foundation is proud to support the next generation of architects and preservationists and to contribute to a wider understanding of the important role that historic buildings play in creating a sustainable future for our built environment.