After being accepted into the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (now known as The School of Architecture at Taliesin), students were instructed to pack a tuxedo and a sleeping bag. The former, to be worn each Saturday night to a formal party. And the latter, to provide warmth and comfort while camping throughout the Arizona winter.
With this school, Wright created a total learning environment. It was his belief that to truly understand architecture, you must also learn and appreciate nature and the arts. Students were taught to garden, cook, play the piano, and dance. Though a stark contrast from the swanky parties, tent living inspired the students’ designs by allowing them to better connect with nature.
Taliesin West is located in Scottsdale, Arizona and also served as Wright’s winter home. Constructed from rocks collected in the area, the home feels as natural to the landscape as the native Petroglyphs used as inspiration. Subtle structural details play with the light and walls are patterned by shadows throughout the day. To ensure his specific vision of the property was carried through entirely, Wright designed the origami chair and other furnishings.
Almost 50 years after Wright’s passing, the year-long program is still in operation and is split between his Arizona and Wisconson estates. Students can now opt for indoor housing, but many still choose to spend their nights under canvas. Tours of the properties can be booked here.