Why the Preservation of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin Matters

"It is my candidate for the title of the greatest single building in America.”(Robert Campbell, “House Proud,” Boston Globe Magazine)

Taliesin is, in many ways, Frank Lloyd Wright’s autobiography, architectural manifesto, and sketchbook. From its original construction in 1911, Wright continually changed, experimented with, and rethought Taliesin until his death in 1959. It was an intensely personal building and became the crucible for many of his ideas about Organic architecture, the “complete expression of Wright’s integration of architecture and nature.” (Neil Levine, The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright).

Recognition of Taliesin’s national significance came in 1976, when the residence, and the 600-acre Taliesin estate with four other Wright-designed structures, was awarded National Historic Landmark status. In 1999, the American Society of Landscape Architects awarded the Taliesin estate with a centennial medallion, recognizing it as one of the most important landscapes in theUnited States. In 2008, the National Park Service placed Taliesin, along with nine other Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structures, on a tentative list of sites that was submitted to the World Heritage Committee in 2009 for World Heritage Status.

While the architect was onsite for much of the initial construction, the structure was not built in a conventional manner: there are very few construction drawings, no contract documents regarding the building, and few specifications related to it. In addition to Wright’s initial approach to the building, it suffered two devastating fires (1914 and 1925), from which he had to rebuild.

The preservation policy used by Taliesin’s owners (the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation) and its stewards (Taliesin Preservation, Inc.) is the result of approved standards and procedures developed by the United States Secretary of the Interior. This policy allows us to consistently balance appropriate remedial measures with Frank Lloyd Wright’s approach to his home as it evolved through the second half of his life.

Article provided by Taliesin Preservation, Inc.