Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Taliesin West, Part 2

Continuing our tour of Taliesin West, we stand outside the Music Pavilion — one has to pause and admire the entrance with the beautiful bright red doors and elaborate door plates (or whatever you call them) plus the glass framing the doorway. If you look carefully, you can even see the photographer.

Inside is a display of two models, the first of which is Taliesin West constructed completely of Lego blocks.

From another angle, note the pool just outside the drafting studio. Keep that in your mind since shortly I will share photos of the real thing.

Here is a closeup of Wright's living room (left) and apartment (up the set of stairs). Those photos will be coming in a couple weeks.

Here stands a model of a design camp called "Ocatilla" which was built in Chandler (not far from my townhouse). I found the backstory on the Chandler Museum website.

"Dr. Chandler [founder of the town of Chandler] and Frank Lloyd Wright met in 1928 [before Taliesin was even started] while Wright was in Phoenix consulting on the construction of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. Chandler approached Wright with an idea for a grand hotel on land he owned in present day Ahwatukee. The two met at a time Wright was struggling financially and was willing to visit the site Dr. Chandler described. After exploring the desert location, Wright eagerly accepted the commission to plan a large hotel called the San Marcos in the Desert. He set up camp with his team and family at the site the following winter, calling the camp Ocatilla, an intentional misspelling of the ocotillo plant which grew in abundance on the site. Despite finishing the plans for the hotel, the stock market crash in October of 1929 forever doomed the building of the hotel."

The Music Pavilion was used to stage musical productions and for the student architects to share their project plans. Our tour guide is standing atop the orchestra pit. By pulling up the carpet and the wooden platform that she is standing on, the pit is revealed. The curtains behind her could be positioned in multiple configurations to support whatever production was being presented. The pavilion still sees a lot of use.

Back outside I took a closeup shot of one of the walls built using the rock and concrete construction that I mentioned last week. It is an interesting use of the available materials, obviously keeping the building costs contained.

To the left is the Drafting Studio which we would have a chance to visit later. However, since students are actively working there, no photography inside, no talking to the students — we could only go in, quick look and out again.

Back in Wright's time all drafting took place with pencil and paper. We were told that the current students must first learn the old ways. However, they will later be free to graduate to computer-aided design.

As promised, here is a nice view of the Drafting Studio in the background and the pool in the foreground.

Next to the Drafting Studio lies the Dining Room and Garden Room. I love the hills in the background standing above the complex. Very cool setting.

I walked to the far corner of the landscaped area and took three shots which I later combined in Photoshop for this panoramic view. To see a larger version, click here and increase the size of your browser.

After taking the pano shots, I turned around to see this magnificent view of the Valley of the Sun. BTW, the actual view is spoiled somewhat by power lines. I removed them in Photoshop — funny how your brain can overlook them when you are seeing the view in person but they really stand out in a photo. They had to go.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com