Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin School of Architecture is losing its accreditation

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Talisen West Studio and Reflecting Pool (Judith Bromley)

Taliesin West Studio and reflecting pool. (Judith Bromley)

Frank Lloyd Wright, who founded the Taliesin Fellowship in 1932, can’t be pleased about the latest news from the school. Architectural Record reported that in 2017 the Taliesin School of Architecture—which currently offers Masters of Architecture degrees at its campuses in Scottsdale, Arizona and Spring Green, Wisconsin—will lose its NAAB accreditation.

Inside Taliesen's Hillside Studio in Wisconsin (Courtesy Taliesen)

Inside Taliesin’s Hillside Studio in Wisconsin (Courtesy Taliesin School)

According to Record, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a regional accrediting body, said it won’t extend credit to schools that are part of institutions whose “missions extend beyond academics.”

That’s exactly the case with the school and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. But the foundation was unwilling to turn the school into an independent body because of a variety of fundraising-related issues. The school earned accreditation in 1992. Taliesin, according to Sean Malone, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, will now “focus on programs that don’t require accreditation, including a post-professional program that has been in the works since last year.” The school may also partner with an accredited institution in the future.

Students at the school—which promotes “learning by doing”—concentrate their studies on classes, studios, trips, projects, and workshops. They live on each campus and round out their studies by building and living in experimental “desert shelters” at Taliesin West and in “prairie shelters” at Taliesin. Fall and Winter terms take place at the Arizona campus while Summer terms are held in Wisconsin. Taliesin West is currently making plans for a massive restoration by Harboe Architects.

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