News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

University of Chicago: From Detail to City at Taliesin

Taliesin Institute | Sep 18, 2023

University of Chicago Students

Over three weeks, from Aug. 27 to Sept. 15, students from the University of Chicago participated in a Taliesin Institute-led residency at Taliesin in Wisconsin.  The class, titled “From Detail to City at Taliesin,” combined design and history. Working individually and together, the students used the surroundings at Taliesin to tackle five projects increasing in scale, starting with architectural details and furniture, continuing to buildings, and—finally—to the consideration of cities and regions.

Part of their exploration was the rural Driftless region of Wisconsin. This region is untouched by glacial activity and provided a unique opportunity to study contemporary issues, including environmental challenges, questions of housing, and rural foodways.

Typical days included design work in the Hillside Studio, ample exploration of the Taliesin grounds, sessions led by guest faculty with expertise on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and others who spent time at Taliesin, excursions across the Driftless region (including additional buildings designed by Wright and others close to him), and field work helping to maintain the Taliesin site.

Students from the University of Chicago work in the Hillside Studio learning about design at different scales, from architectural details to buildings to the scale of the region. The details of Hillside’s unique truss system are of particular interest to many students.

Pictured above the students visit the Midway Barn. The legacy of farming and agriculture at Taliesin is an important touchstone for students from the University of Chicago, as they explore issues of sustainable food production, agroforestry, and ecology as part of their 3-week residency.

The students spent time exploring the special collections held at Taliesin as part of their studio design project. They had to pay particular attention to the details of the items, from the scale of an architectural detail or piece of furniture to the scale of an entire building and its regional context. Scale models of Wright-designed furniture provided a particularly apropos setting for the scale figures designed by the students during their first week.

In this program with Michael Degen, Natural Landscapes Coordinator at the Foundation, students learned about the Driftless Area surrounding Taliesin and how Frank Lloyd Wright engaged the unique geology, ecology, and cultural history of the region, as well as how the Foundation is working to preserve these landscapes.

As pictured above, UC students engaged with Frank Lloyd Wright scholar, Sidney Robinson, and Director of Preservation at the Foundation, Ryan Hewson, in a 2-part program called Taliesin as Text, which centers on active looking and questioning of Taliesin’s architecture and how it changed over time.

News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation