Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation taps Sasaki to lead a comprehensive plan for Taliesin West

Let Me Be Frank

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation taps Sasaki to lead a comprehensive plan for Taliesin West

Taliesin West was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019. (Jwagg0309/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (FLWF) recently announced that Sasaki will lead a comprehensive plan for Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s retreat in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.

Taliesin West served as Wright’s winter camp and studio between 1938 and his death in 1959. It embodies the late master’s principles of organic architecture that harmoniously blends with the surrounding landscape. The Scottsdale compound was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019 joining several other buildings by Wright.

Now, Sasaki is working with FLWF to develop a new interpretive master plan. This is meant to develop new modes of engagement vis-a-vis an array of tours and public programs that also looks to preserve the property in light of climate change.

“After Wright’s death in 1959, development at Taliesin West was not planful or by design,” said Stuart Graff, FLWF’s president and CEO. “New technologies, societal changes, and even climate change make having a thoughtful path forward important to the Foundation and the surrounding community.”

Garden Room at Taliesin West (Andrew Home/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Sasaki described its role moving forward as honoring and enhancing Taliesin West’s legacy while ensuring its sustainability and relevance for future generations. The comprehensive plan’s goals are to document the site to guide future work on the property, create a responsive site design that respects local ecology, and develop a new interpretive plan premised on audience research conducted by the FLWF in 2019.

Architects at Sasaki are drawn to the Sonoran Desert’s incredible biological diversity, they said, a milieu home to species of flora and fauna able to survive in harsh and arid conditions. The vegetation capable of surviving in this harsh landscape includes saguaro cacti, ocotillo, palo verde trees, and many others. Sasaki officials said the plan will examine the impact of climate change on the flora and fauna at Taliesin West to help protect the plant life while reducing the site’s impact on its surroundings.

“We are honored to work with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to help shape the future of Taliesin West,” said Sasaki principal Susannah Drake. “Taliesin West is not just a historic site; it is a living testament to Wright’s visionary approach to architecture and design. Our team is collaborating with the Foundation to create a plan that respects the site’s heritage while embracing ecology and sustainability.”

As previously covered by AN, in recent years preservationists have been hard at work at Taliesin West to make accessibility upgrades and replace the structure’s canvas roof panels, among other renovation projects.

A timeline hasn’t been issued for the project.