Connect with us


Eco Expression: Taliesin West

“The long lines of colorful, windswept terrain, the ineffable dotted line, the richly textured plain, great striated, stratified masses lying noble and quiet or rising with majesty above the vegetation of the desert floor; nature-masonry is piled up into ranges of mountains that seem to utter a form-language of their own”
–Frank Lloyd Wright

The long lines of colorful, windswept terrain, the ineffable dotted line, the richly textured plain, great striated, stratified masses lying noble and quiet or rising with majesty above the vegetation of the desert floor; nature-masonry is piled up into ranges of mountains that seem to utter a form-language of their own – Frank Lloyd Wright

On a perfect spring day, 23 degree celsius out with clear blue skies and a cool breeze, our tour guide romay took us around the desert masterpiece that is taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was after noon; The sky was directly above us and the light passing through the structure cast varying geometric shadows, the very forms the great american architect is known for. With her thick german accent, romay explained to us that in the early 1930s at 70 years old, Wright, together with his wife Oglivana and his fellowship students, came to the area, fleeing from the cold weather of Wisconsin where his other home taliesin i was located. in more than 600 acres of land, taliesin, which literally means shining brow, sprung from the land with its structure cascading seamlessly into the natural landscape of the stunning sonoran desert.

Its sheer brilliance resides on the manipulation of spaces. Wright’s success over his tireless goal of the “destruction of the box” is best exemplified in taliesen’s open free-flowing spaces that commune with nature and connects the different areas. He was one of the
first proponents of the open architectural plan, which some viewed as his articulation of the ideals of america: “freedom, democracy and wide open spaces” he had hoped to see translated in his architecture.

Ahead of its time, the home and also the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture’s west campus, was such a departure from the Victorian style, in a way that could only be described in his own words as “the elimination of the insignificant.” He coined it “Organic Architecture,” raw and provocative for its time, using only the materials indigenous to the area—in this case, the desert. they called the main method they used “desert Masonry” wherein concrete was poured into a group of large boulders to make the walls. Wright admired the texture and colors of the exposed flat sides of the stone, and the fellowship discovered a smart and rather crude method of keeping the poured concrete from covering the flat surfaces. they interspersed round protruding stones in between the slabs and called it the “goose effect.”

Built in the later years of his life, taliesen West was true to Wright’s signature form. a nod to the prairie style he propelled, design elements such as the multi-level lowered roof, which is parallel to the horizontal line of the earth and the horizon, and a hidden entrance come to life. Uniquely, there were no straight 90-degree walls, instead having the walls built at a slanting 15-degree angle. the office, which is the first room that one passes from the side, is given a translucence of space thanks to the canvas-lined ceiling. ingeniously thought of by Wright, it provides ample lighting without the glare and shadows. glass windows were also placed high, above eye level, to let light in without distracting the occupants in the room. Wright was a modestly tall man at 5’7”, so he created small doors for most of his interiors. He felt that for a dramatic revelation, which became a hallmark of his work, one should move from a small hallway or opening to a large space.

Moving to the frontage is the main area called the ship is the prow, the focal point of the property. Within the prow is the garden, which Wright dubbed as “the tame desert,” with flora native to arizona, and the triangular pool. Juxtaposed to the desert pageantry is a significant piece of asian art that Wright purchased from a san francisco flea market, which dates back to the ching dynasty. He had an affinity for asian art, which is evident in the many pieces that dot taliesin West like the dragon, the sprites and a Buddha, to name a few. this love affair extended beyond his collection and in fact became a source of income, when he had a brief stint as an art dealer of Japanese prints when he hit hard times.

From the garden room, the panorama is picturesque and Wright fought hard to keep the view, which, with the exception of a few power lines, is left unobstructed. He expanded the interior space with a vaulted ceiling, since he detested attics. The garden room connects the adjoining rooms, which includes Wright’s private quarters. All for architectural harmony, Wright designed geometric furniture and in taliesin West, hexagonal furniture sits in almost every room. He had developed this geometric mastery from playing with froebel blocks his mother had given him as a child.

Outside, a lap pool crosses under the walkway that leads to the storage room, which houses the sketches of the fellowship students. The fellowship dining area leads to the drafting room, which functions to this day for the students and kept private. Many of the 1,140 historic Wright commissions were designed in 2000 square feet of workspace, including the guggenheim Museum in new york. In the halls outside, the light passing through the trellis create an interesting geometric pattern on the floor, which seems to move as you walk by. An outdoor area holds rows of bronze sculptures by Heloise crista, who lives within the grounds. As a performance artist, her work shows movement and the human form, a fitting visual distraction before you enter the Music pavilion next door. Seasonal performances are held in this sunken indoor music hall, which was initially built like a barn. Now, a miniature model can be found of a complex that Wright designed initially for Marilyn Monroe, though she rejected it, that was picked up decades later by a UAE company for Doha.
Being a music lover, Wright also designed the cabaret theater just a few steps away. The hexagon walls have no straight angles, and a wooden stage has a built-in amplifier that offers perfect acoustics without echoes. His granddaughter anne Baxter, the Hollywood movie actress, would update him on the latest films and he would have screenings at the cabaret theater, with a fancy dinner and everyone dressing to the nines.

Then and now, Taliesin West comes alive with stories told and history made within its walls. Last year in 2013, taliesin West celebrated its 75th year, and together with Big green Zero and first solar, both industry leaders in renewable energy, became a “net zero” energy consumer.

“We are confident the integration of clean solar power into taliesen West will help advance the legacy of frank Lloyd,” says Jim Lamon, first solar senior Vp of engineering. With such an important place in architecture and such a respectful stance it has to the land it is on, taliesen West continues to shine as a design oasis in the sonoran desert.

  • by Katsy Borromeo


You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at Marco Polo Plaza

Marco Polo Plaza will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Festival with the rest of the Irish community! It’s not only a feast of greens and four-leaf clovers but of good food too! From March 17 to 19, dig in and enjoy traditional Irish dishes and delights such as Irish Stew, Potato Nachos, Cheesy Reuben Loaf, Guinness Beef Stew Pot Pie, Beer Mac N’ Cheese and many more. These on top of the international lunch and dinner buffet at Cafe Marco. Complete the experience in true Irish fashion with an ice-cold mug of Irish Beer, also available at Cafe Marco.

Gastronomic adventures await at Café Marco! For inquiries and reservations, you can call (032) 253-1111. For real time updates, like the Facebook page at facebook.com/marcopolocebu or follow on Twitter at @5StarInCebu. Visit the website at www.marcopolohotels.com.

For inquiries and reservations, call 253-1111 or email hospitality.ceb@marcopolohotels.com.

Continue Reading


La Liga Henerales: Shaping History Awareness Back Again in Cebu

La Liga Henerales is a community of young talents passionately promotes historical awareness through periodic costumes carefully researched for its authenticity and accuracy and promoted as well in events and schools.

Only few individuals before were into pursuit in this historical awareness project until the age of communication where internet is convenient in the palm of our hands through our gadgets. New information travel fast and data is retrievable, yet also possess a disadvantage with the plethora of different social media platforms carried by various makers as well. In a daily basis, historical backgrounds are unearthed making its trend until now as new discoveries are released, but the idea of these information being shown and shared is as close as not valuing or commemorating to its sources leaving this information just a trend.

There is a certain community of Cebuanos that are taking a quest to rewrite and restructure what was in the past, filling the gaps in facts with further research of variable sources that are made debatable but sticks to it true cause, to unveil the truths of our heritage and our origins, as Cebuanos and as Filipinos as well.

La Liga Henerales is a Cebu-based, non-profit organization composed of a group of talented, committed and respectable individuals from different walks of life, schools and profession whose primary aim is to promote both, Cebuano and filipino culture and heritage that was depicted before in pre-colonial and colonial eras via re-enactment with costumes vested in proper research and investigation to achieve authenticity. They also push their cause on schools and other social gatherings promoting and spreading awareness about our local, and national heroes that we look up to. With these said, they also portray a closer look of the lifestyle of the past to where they perform stories, perform forgotten dances and rituals and portray their individual roles, vital in the fight of our country’s future during those challenging times, and in honor to spread awareness of the lost practices we had in those times.

The Founder

Combining passion and education. Louis Villaflor re-enacts his way patriotism through his periodical costumes and expresses his love for Cebu and Philippines as a culture-centric country.

Louis Kenneth Villaflor, an entrepreneur and an avid history enthusiast and costumer, founded the group on the purpose of re-educating the youth about real local and national history, he saw the opportunity to combine his favourite hobbies which is costuming and story role-playing and the process to instill the historical awareness and value among the youth and in schools, along with a group of fellow enthusiasts who shares his passion about research and history, they took it among themselves to be purposeful in the advocacy in spreading historical awareness in schools or events by wearing periodically correct costumes and sharing the stories and its value to the youth.

Behind the Garments

With the its senior expertise of fashion design and a teacher of the field, his passion also of history caters also in his designs as he pushes through sustainable fashion and historical awareness combined.

Meet Rodney “Pee-Wee” Senining, who has been in the fashion industry since the late 90’s, strives  in concepts of avant-garde, innovation and cutting edge-fashion forward design. And also a teacher of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design of University of San Carlos, he had grown into research of books like the holy grail in the Library Resource Center and is always fascinated of the periodical times and how to preserve it; Hence, his interest had grown for the affinity of Periodical Costumes and Sustainable Fashion.

 Being part of the group La Liga Henerales, he was tasked to instantly be their mentor for the young talents and as the organization is still new and developing with limited funds, resourcefulness and research were done to come up with a good output of photo shoot and was quite proud of it and still promise on the next editions of pieces to be more historically accurate. Even as teacher for Fashion Design in SAFAD, his expertise comes hand in hand with the members as he helps them do research as well. His passion and interest somehow led him with enough knowledge to key the insights of the significant periods and historical backgrounds of it.

Historical Awareness in Cebu

The strength and progress of a country is anchored on how well they know and honor its history. The means of historical awareness in Cebu is almost non-existent among the Cebuanos, although we push forward in tourism and promote beauty through sceneries and other aspects of culture yet never commemorate deeply on historical icons such as our other local heroes, and ancient cultures as well that is almost been forgotten in an urban Cebu. Nevertheless, as long as communities’ like La Liga Henerales are now evolving in a learning state by real discovery by multiple resources, this will always reflect of how we appreciate love, patriotism and honor to our country and would look forward to progress.


Continue Reading


Christmas in Colonial Cebu: A Themed Exhibit by Teresin Mendezona and Eva Gullas for Stylescapes 2019

Ever wonder how the yuletide season is celebrated in colonial times? This year at Stylescapes 2019, Teresin Mendezona and Eva Gullas collaborated to showcase the elegance of Christmas during the colonial period, specifically most of the Spanish regime.
This pop-up radiated the ambience of Christmas in the colonial times through the various details used within the setting. Specific pieces like the gansilyo table cloth, oil lamp, and the sketches were from Ms. Mendezona and Gullas themselves.
Aside from that, various table and living room pieces were sourced from Rustans and Metro Ayala, and was curated by Doro Barandino.

Continue Reading