SCOTTSDALE (Cronkite) -- Legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright began construction on Taliesin West, meant to be his winter home, in 1937. His vision was to create a structure that reflected the expansiveness of the Sonoran Desert.
Eight decades later, the complex and seven other landmarks designed by Wright have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The designation.
[RELATED: 8 Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, including 1 in Scottsdale, added to World Heritage list]
The Wright collection is the newest of 24 World Heritage Sites in the U.S., only 11 of which are cultural sites. Taliesin West is the first cultural World Heritage Site in Arizona; the Grand Canyon, the state’s only other World Heritage Site, was designated as a natural site.
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"Taliesin West is a look over the rim of the world," Wright said in 1943.
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Wright embedded an apprentice's hammer in the stone tower outside Taliesin West, originally as a joke, but he ended up liking the way it looked. Can you spot it?
Cherokee Red, one of Wright’s signature colors, is used throughout the property, including the “Music Pavilion” seen here. Today, the space is used for lectures by the School of Architecture at Taliesin.
Around 110,00 visitors visit Taliesin West each year, and architecture students come to the property to study during the winter months.
The “Cabaret Theater” was used for performances, often by Wright’s apprentices, and movies whenever guests came to visit the property. The stone and sand walls and ceiling were hand placed by Wright’s apprentices. Live snakes and lizards can often be found in crevices of the walls.
Outside the “Cabaret Theater” sits a large Buddha sculpture that Wright moved between Taliesin West in the winter and Taliesin, his summer home in Spring Green, Wisconsin, in the summer.
Nods to Japanese architecture and motifs, like this dragon sculpture, can be seen throughout the property.
Wright designed the Guggenheim Museum from the “Drafting Studio” at Taliesin West. Today, students from the School of Architecture at Taliesin study there during the winter months.
The “Garden Room” was designed to serve as Wright and his wife’s personal living room and was his favorite room on the property. It’s design was influenced by Japanese architecture.
This bronze bust of Frank Lloyd Wright was sculpted by Japanese artist Heloise Crista, who was a member of the apprentice community that Wright formed at the property.
Fred Prozzillo, vice president of preservation for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, often works from Taliesin West. Preservation of both Taliesin properties (Scottsdale and Spring Green, Wisc.) is the foundation’s “deepest obligation.” The buildings are a central aspect of the foundation’s educational and public programs.