The School of Architecture (TSOA) announced yesterday it will be moving “the bulk of its activities” from Arcosanti, Arizona, where its residence has been since 2019, to the Cattle Track Arts Compound in Scottsdale—a “dynamic arts community” about 80 miles south.
The 91-year-old institution founded by Frank Lloyd Wright has ties to its new address in Scottsdale. The Cattle Track Arts Compound was founded by George Ellis, a local engineer who pioneered the usage of local building materials and constructed Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rose Pauson house in Phoenix.
“We are excited for this new phase and opportunity to grow. We are incredibly grateful for all of our past experiences as an institution, and our number one priority is to continue to expand the breadth of opportunities for our students to be engaged with the new colleagues, new partnerships, and new ideas that an urban environment can offer us,” said Stephanie Lin, TSOA’s dean in a press release. “Cattle Track has the best of both worlds: a distinctive place to spread out and experiment with hands-on building while also being highly convenient to resources and personnel needed to support a program of our kind.”
In recent years, students have used fabrication labs there for thesis projects. TSOA faculty and students have also been developing a tiny-home prototype at Cattle Track with the City of Scottsdale and Brick by Brick, that uses compressed earth block (CEB). TSOA alum and board member John Sather also has his office across the street from Cattle Track and has maintained relationships with the arts community there and the Ellis family.
The change comes after a few turbulent years for the institution. In 2020, TSOA alumni and Frank Lloyd Wright fans were shocked when the school announced that it may close after 88 years of educating architects, drawing significant criticism. Amid the backlash, the school managed to keep its doors open while changing its name from the School of Architecture at Taliesin to TSOA. That year, it also moved its summer classes from Taliesin West to Arcosanti, in an attempt to make Paolo Saleri’s Arcosanti its new permanent address.
“The school embodies resilience,” added Jason Donofrio, chair of TSOA’s Board of Governors. “It has taken many forms and endured many changes over the years, but our commitment to community and the legacy of experimental architecture have always remained at the core of who we are. I am excited to see our values embodied in our new location as we work to execute a program that seeks to solve the sustainability design challenges of today.”
“Ever since the Fellowship began migrating between Arizona and Wisconsin on a yearly basis starting in the 1930s, we have been a mobile community,” said TSOA President Chris Lasch. “This return to the Phoenix Metro Area puts us in closer contact with our faculty, the dynamic professional community of the Valley and our traditional base of support. We are excited for this renewed partnership with Cattle Track, and we also look forward to future ones as we continue to evolve, move, and craft the next iteration of this legendary institution.”