Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Taliesin West, Part 6

The next stop on the Behind the Scenes tour of Taliesin West was the kiva, which gets its name from an underground chamber used by Pueblo Indians for religious rites, first serving as a private viewing room for Wright where he would indulge in his love of cinema, particularly old Westerns. Wright had many connections to Hollywood and was able to obtain films before they were released to the general public. The kiva also functioned as an informal lounge and library for the apprentices.

Note the lighting in this room which today seems ubiquitous but which, when it was designed and installed, was way before its time. It offered much flexibility in the use of this room from movies to review of building plans.

On the way to our next stop, I spotted this ceramic dragon sitting atop a wall.

In addition to the man-made artwork adorning Taliesin West, Mother Nature has also made a beautiful contribution.

In the entryway to our next and final stop on the tour stood another magnificent art piece. To me this looks like the head of a Buddha, perhaps collected by Wright during one of his Asian trips.

Built with six sides entirely out of the complex’s characteristic concrete-and-stone mixture, the Cabaret Theater’s hexagonal shape affords the space almost perfect acoustics, making it possible to hear the lightest whisper from the stage at any location in the Theater. Our tour guide provided a demonstration by winding a miniature music box then placing on the table in front of us. It was as if the music box were sitting on my lap.

Wright's fine attention to design detail extended to the sconces embedded in the walls.

He also was a pioneer in adding floor lighting so that guests would not have to be guided to their seats by flashlight.

Our tour was now over but we were invited to explore a bit on our own — here a large abstract sculpture which could have come from the latest Star Wars movie.

Early in this series, I mentioned that Wright's architecture students were expected to build a residence in the desert. Although we were not allowed to approach them for a closer look (and closer photo), it is obvious that some of the students were very talented with respect to that assignment.

But one of my favorite efforts was this pyramid-shaped tent. Pretty rugged living but nice design.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of Taliesin West as much as I enjoyed both touring and sharing it with you. After the holidays, I will begin sharing photos of David Wright's Phoenix home — designed by his famous father, Frank Lloyd Wright, and recently saved from the bulldozer by a generous benefactor.

Life is good.

B. David

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