28.05.2020 Marlene Schwemer

Exploring Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio the digital way

Foto: Jill Richards

He was one of the primary pioneers of modernism: Frank Lloyd Wright, the American architect who again and again pushed boundaries in architecture and construction. And it this hallmark of his work that the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation wishes to uphold. As the remote location of the architect’s Taliesin West enclave in the heart of the Arizona desert is an obstacle for many visitors, the Foundation has launched an extensive project for digitisation of the architect’s winter creative centre to make it accessible in a virtual online tour – without any need to pay admission and not only in the time of Covid19.

Virtual tour
Starting with a bird’s-eye view of the property, the tour of Taliesin West does not follow any particular route but rather lets viewers decide for themselves where in particular – i.e. in which of the buildings, storeys and outdoor areas – they would like to look around, as the 3D digitisation enables individual discovery in the virtual space. But the property can also be experienced in a guided tour, or certain individual rooms explored. A glimpse into the virtual laboratory shows people at work, plus even Frank Lloyd Wright’s lavatory is to be seen. A stroll among the cactuses in the desert heat of Arizona is equally possible. 

Architecture in the desert
From his first visit in 1897 onwards, the architect never stopped building at his Taliesin property until he died in 1959. The result brings together differing buildings and ideas from various creative periods and is regarded today as one of his major works. In 1937 Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife Olga Lazovich founded The School of Architecture at Taliesin, where the architect provided instruction not only in architecture and construction but also in agriculture, the natural world, dancing, cooking and music. In his view, architecture was to be integrated with the surrounding landscape and have a close relationship with its natural setting, in this case the Arizona desert. 

Today some of the rooms are in use by The School of Architecture at Taliesin. In addition to continued practical use of Taliesin West, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is concerned with the question of preservation and the general accessibility of the property. Digitization offers the chance to revitalise the Taliesin West enclave – and to immortalize Frank Lloyd Wright.

Photo: Jill Richards

Photo: Screenshot Virtual Tour

Photo: Screenshot Virtual Tour

Photo: Screenshot Virtual Tour

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