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Frank Lloyd Wright and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona

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Frank Lloyd Wright and Taliesin West
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Taliesin West, Scottsdale

Chicago History Museum / Contributor Collection / Getty Images

In northeast of Scottsdale, Arizona there is a living memorial to a great American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Nestled in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains and surrounded by the spectacular Sonoran Desert lays a sprawling 600-acre complex called Taliesin West. It was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. The buildings and the landscape at Taliesin West complement each other. They coexist in harmony -- form and color, beauty and grace, nature and science are all blended. Taliesin West (pronounced: tal-ee-ess-in) is a National Historic Landmark.

Frank Lloyd Wright was born in 1867. Wright grew up in rural Wisconsin, was taught the virtue of hard work, and acquired a love of the landscape. At the age of eighteen he entered university to study civil engineering and shortly thereafter began his career in architecture. He became a revolutionary and a nonconformist. He despised what he called the stale, backward looking ideas of his peers who were designing architecture based on the Greek, Roman, Gothic, and Tudor models instead of creating a new, vibrant American landscape. He longed to be freed from the limits of existing material and designs. In his various writings, he described "organic architecture" with site-specific construction where "form and function were one." He set forth the principles of the Prairie House with open expanses and limited subdivisions, which he referred to as "boxes." While his architectural principles gained him fame overseas, Frank Lloyd Wright was not always appreciated at home, where he was often ridiculed. Eventually the number of his followers grew.

Frank Lloyd Wright/Taliesin West Factoid: Frank Lloyd Wright visited Arizona for the first time in 1927. He often stayed at a temporary camp near Chandler.

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