Building on the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work and thoughts, the School of Architecture at Taliesin engages in experiments aimed at making our world more sustainable, open, and beautiful. This summer we return to China to partner with famous designers in China to work at the intersection of architecture, agriculture, culture, and cuisine at the Jade Valley Winery near Xi’an, There, we will experiment with materials, forms, and images to help create a new culinary experience that will extend the parallel research of Buckminster Fuller. Called GeoDine®, it will make use of geodesic technology to house exploration of the dining experience.
Frank Lloyd Wright learned from Asian architecture from his earliest years. His Prairie School houses gained from his visit to the Japanese pavilion at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and he continued to study Japanese and Chinese art and architecture throughout his life. In turn, many students from these countries came to work at Taliesin after Wright set up the apprenticeship program there in 1932. They have continued to make major contributions to the development of the architecture and curriculum at both the original Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The School of Architecture at Taliesin’s motto is: “Live Architecture,” The core of its curriculum is the design, construction, and inhabitation of a shelter each student must complete before they graduate. This construction in turn is the basis of a project that extends its findings into ideas and drawings about how we can be at home in our modern world.
This experience, strengthened through continual exercises and projects the School constructs in the communities it serves, prepares graduates both to make real contributions to their environment, and to engage in ongoing experiments that inform their work as architects. The School is very excited to be able to extend and deepen this process through its contributions to the Jade Valley Winery.
For the last ten years, architect Qingyun Ma has been building a community in the foothills of the Zhongnan Mountains that encompasses the production of high quality wine, the design of structures that combine local building traditions and materials with global standards and ideas, an exploration of cuisine based on local ingredients and experiments with food preparation, and the creation of a community centered around both culture and agriculture. The whole project also serves as the basis for an ongoing learning experience for invited students.
This summer, Jade Valley Winery and the School of Architecture are joining forces to bring their knowledge and expertise together and further both of their experiments. Three recent graduates of the School, joined for a period by its President, Aaron Betsky, critic and curator of architecture, and its Dean, Chris Lasch, Partner in the world-renowned firm of Aranda/Lasch, will direct and participate in a three-month project to construct GeoDine.
Using the concept of a geodesic dome, which was developed by the inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller, the designers will examine the nature of Jade Valley’s natural and human-made landscape, and collaborate with local craftspeople, vintners, and chefs to create an open pavilion for the staging of special meals, celebrations, and discussions focused on the intersection of different modes of (agri)cultural research. They will design not just the overall structure and site plan, but also the furniture, tableware, and graphic presence that are an integral part of the GeoDine concept.
To accomplish this task in the three-month period, the School of Architecture at Taliesin and the American Academy in China invite students of architecture and design to join them for (part of) this period. Students will participate fully in the design and construction process, thus continuing Taliesin’s notion of “learning by doing.” Credit is available as appropriate.