Lounging in the 60s

Taliesin Associated Architects


Hillside Home School building erected at Taliesin (1887)

Wright moves workshop to Taliesin (1911)

Taliesin Fellowship founded at Spring Green (1932)

Taliesin West founded (1938)

Involvement with Rocky Mountain National Park (1964 – 1967)





Taliesin at Spring Green

“Taliesin,” in Frank Lloyd Wright’s family’s native Welsh, meant “shining brow,” referring to Wright’s familial estate on the brow of the hill in Spring Green, Wisconsin (Pfeiffer, 1997). The first building at Taliesin of Wright’s own design, a school building for his aunts’ Hillside Home School, was erected in 1887 (Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, 2017). In 1911, Wright left suburban Oak Park, Illinois, outside of Chicago, to build his own home in Spring Green, situating Taliesin as his new workshop and base of operations.

Taliesin, “designed to function as modern country estate in the new automobile age, with all the advantages that modern technology might afford,” provided Wright the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and concentrate more fully on his craft (Levine, 1996).  By 1915, the aunts retired and the Hillside Home School building was left vacant until 1932 when Wright and his wife Olgivanna established the Taliesin Fellowship, an architecture apprenticeship school, in the former Hillside building (Pfeiffer, 1997).

Taliesin West at Scotsdale

In 1938, Wright moved winter operations to Scottsdale, Arizona and Taliesin West, his desert laboratory (The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, 2017). Although initially camp-like in design and intended only for use in winter, Taliesin West became more permanent each year. In the later years of Wright’s life, before his death in 1959, Taliesin West became a second home to Wright and his family, as well as the main center of operations for the Taliesin Fellowship, later rechristened The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture after his death. Unlike Wright’s other constructions, both Taliesins stand apart as “apprentice-built and apprentice-maintained” (Pfeiffer, 1997). This influence would extend beyond Wright’s own tenure with Taliesin.

Taliesin Associated Architects and Rocky Mountain National Park

Aesthetically, the connection between Taliesin West and the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is very pronounced. Although Frank Lloyd Wright passed in the previous decade, his impact continued to be felt throughout the planning and construction of Beaver Meadows. Today, “although some additions and changes have been made in the complex, all the central portions of [Taliesin West] reflect Wright's design handiwork and were built under his direction by the apprentices of the Fellowship” (National Historic Register Nomination, 2001). Similarly, Beaver Meadows, commissioned under Taliesin Associated Architects in 1964, reflects Wright’s architectural vision.


Both architects who worked on the project, E. Thomas Casey of Taliesin Associated Architects, founded in 1959 to carry on Wright’s “pioneering traditions,” and Charles Gordon Lee of the local, Arvada, Colorado Kunz Construction Company studied under Wright at Taliesin West (ROMO Archives, 1967).This influence is evident in the design of Beaver Meadows. Its sloped ceilings, sandstone-embellished exterior walls, and elaborate, exposed steel structure are particularly reminiscent of the design at Taliesin West (National Historic Register Nomination, 2001). Additionally, after Wright’s death, his widow Olgivanna took over as President of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, and Taliesin Associated Architects. Responsible for the interior design choices at Beaver Meadows, Mrs. Wright’s vision is reflective of the interior spaces and furnishings, particularly in the use of the color orange, at Taliesin West.


As stated in the National Historic Landmark Nomination form for the building, Beaver Meadows “reflects design principles typical both of the Park Service Modern style developed by the Mission 66 program, and Wrightian principles of design” (National Historic Register Nomination, 2001). Like Taliesin in Spring Green, designed to incorporate the modern conveniences of the automobile age, Beaver Meadows, like other Mission 66-era visitor centers, demonstrates a commitment to streamlined amenities, propelling visitors into the park.


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