Nestled in the foothills of north Scottsdale, visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright built Taliesin West as his winter home, studio and architectural campus in Scottsdale in 1937. Drawn to the sweeping lines, colors and light of the Sonoran Desert, Taliesin West represents the culmination of Wright’s lifelong artistic ambition to harmoniously fuse outdoor and indoor spaces.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West integrates indoor and outdoor spaces with the architect's famously understated elegance. — Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Many of Wright's most famous buildings were designed in the drafting room at Taliesin West, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Wright continuously made improvements to Taliesin West throughout his lifetime, creating a living work of art that continues to inspire visitors and architecture students.
Today, Taliesin West is the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Visitors from around the world come to explore the sweeping lines and dramatic vistas of the campus, which offers a full range of public tours, ranging from one to three hours in length.
Explore Taliesin West with a Specialty Tour
90-Minute Signature Tour
This popular tour offers visitors an inside look into the living quarters and dramatic “Garden Room” of Taliesin West where Wright hosted social gatherings and entertained famous visitors.
One Hour Panorama Tour
Wright’s uncanny ability to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces is the highlight of this tour, which shows off the campus’ striking terraces, walkways and gardens. Visit the Music Pavillion, Seminar Theater and the hexagonal Cabaret Theater, which is said to be nearly acoustically perfect. The Panorama Tour also includes a stop at Wright’s private office.
Two-Hour “Night Lights” Tour
Watch the sun go down over the Sonoran desert on this special tour, which is only offered on Friday evenings on certain months of the year. At night, Taliesin West becomes filled with beauty and mystery as various structures take on the appearance of sculptures when lit from within. Watch the famous fire-breathing dragon sculpture come to life against a panorama of city lights.
The auditorium at Taliesin West. — Photo courtesy of flickr/.dh
Three-Hour Behind the Scenes Tour
This extensive tour includes an exclusive stop in the Taliesin Fellowship dining room for mid-morning tea. Visitors also get to speak with Wright associates and enjoy an up-close look at some of the campus’ unique structures.
90-Minute Desert Walk Tour
Explore the desert trails surrounding Taliesin West with a guided walking tour led by one of the center’s knowledgeable docents. Learn more about Wright’s use of native materials to build the campus and get an eyeful of desert faun and flora, which can include a glimpse of javelina, coyote, tortoise and other wildlife. The Desert Walk Tour is only offered November through April.
Savor the Historic Southwest with a Post-Tour Meal
After whetting your appetite at Taliesin West, head to the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa for dinner at Frank & Albert’s, one of the Valley’s top rated restaurants. Named after Frank Lloyd Wright and his contemporary Albert Chase McArthur (one of the designers of the Biltmore), Frank & Albert’s is famous for its regional take on comfort food classics. Many dishes are prepared using locally sourced ingredients. Try the tortilla soup, a menu staple since 1949.
Taliesin West is open every day from 9 am to 4 pm, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Prices for tours vary. Make sure to call ahead for seasonal hours. Booking in advance is recommended. Contact the Tours Department at 480.627.5375.