Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Taliesin West and Soleri Bell Factory

Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home for the Taliesin Fellowship, Taliesin West is a complex of buildings which includes a theater, music pavillion (he collected grand pianos) and sun cottage and offered a new challenge in building materials. He first started work on the site in 1938 with apprentices from Taliesin North. For the first two years of construction they all lived on the desert in tents or temporary wood and canvas shelters. Life was primitive with no water, electricity, heating or plumbing. Every winter for the next 22 years, he and his students would continue the work, revising and enlarging the complex. It was built using what Wright described as "desert rubblestone" construction, which involves large stones set in concrete, to produce a more colorful and natural effect than pure concrete. Wright built much of Taliesin West from linen canvas on redwood frames, which diffused the harsh desert sun.

Then in the afternoon we visited Cosanti, the windbell factory and Arizona historic site, designed by world-renowned architectural innovator, Paolo Soleri. They make both bronze and ceramic windbells. I loved all the different sounds of the bells and of course, had to get one for our garden. My herbal husband usually goes crazy to ring bells. He was somewhat subdued on this occasion. Maybe he didn't want to be throw out for making too much noise! Mr. Soleri has also created Arcosanti north of Phoenix. Arcology is a term coined by Paolo Soleri to describe the concept of architecture and ecology working as one integral process to produce new urban habitats. Here are some pictures of Cosanti, the windbell factory located in Paradise Valley.

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