After the news broke last night that the School of Architecture at Taliesin (SoAT) had voted to reverse their decision to close the school, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation provided the following statement to AN: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation learned through stories the School of Architecture’s lawyers had placed in the media of their change in plans to remain open based on its assessment that it has secured funding and a new path to increase enrollment. Despite having two representatives on their board, the Foundation has little information about these new income sources and programs, which remain to be vetted by the School’s accreditors, its lawyers, and its own finance committee. Questions also remain about the School’s leadership, in light of the departure of the current dean/president later this spring, and how that impacts the direction of a revised program. The Foundation believes that the timing of this most recent proposal to the School’s board, the notion of which was communicated to them shortly before its January 25 decision to close, does not reflect the careful exercise of fiduciary oversight incumbent on the organization’s Governors. The School’s announcements and lack of planning for the consequences of its earlier decision have adversely affected the lives of its employees who were terminated, generated distraction for its students from their studies and future planning, upset its alumni community, and disrupted the Foundation’s own important work. The board has demonstrated more concern about seeking blame for its decision to close than creating a sustainable business model for itself. Since the School’s initial announcement about its decision to close, the Foundation has heard from former apprentices, alumni, members of the profession and leaders of professional organizations, along with members of our community. This diverse group of stakeholders is hungry for impactful programs for training architects and design professionals in the evolving principles of organic architecture—rooted in Wright’s ideas, but applied to our present and future built environment. We have spoken with the leaders of several prominent M. Arch. programs about partnering with the Foundation to create accredited programs on the Foundation’s campuses. And we are proud that many of the ideas that we are discussing are based closely on the program of apprenticeship that was the hallmark of Wright’s Fellowship—and something absent from our campuses since Taliesin Associated Architects, the practice that was the framework of the school’s pedagogy, was closed in the mid-2000s. We will continue to advance these explorations while the School, an independent organization, is vetting its programs, and look forward to evaluating all available options to secure the future of training professionals at Taliesin and Taliesin West. Frank Lloyd Wright’s 88-year-legacy of architect training will continue at his two homes. Because of the uncertainties around the School proposal, and the lack of any direct communication from the school itself, the Foundation will have no further response until the necessary evaluations by the accreditors, attorneys, and financial stewards of the School proposals are completed and brought directly to the Foundation for consideration towards the renewal of the expiring Memorandum of Understanding. However, it is imperative if the Foundation allows for the use of Taliesin and Taliesin West by any independent organization, that the work that will occur on these two campuses, each part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, reflect both financial soundness and professional programmatic content that can advance the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright. We do not intend to debate or negotiate this matter in the press or in social media and plan no further statement at this time. As always, Taliesin and Taliesin West remain open and thriving, welcoming record numbers of visitors from around the world to learn from Wright’s principles of organic architecture through the experience of his most personal designs.
Posts tagged with "Taliesin":
It turns out that earlier coverage of the death of the School of Architecture at Taliesin (SoAT) may have been premature. In a stark reversal, SoAT’s board has decided to reverse its January 25 vote and keep the school open. When the news was announced at the end of January, it looked like the 88-year-old SoAT would close at the end of June and send the final 30 students from the Taliesin West campus in Scottsdale, Arizona, to the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe to finish their education. After an outpouring of support, the board’s change of heart might seem like a good thing, but the school still finds itself in a precarious position. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which owns the land the school is on, has terminated SoAT’s lease effective July 31, 2020; as a result, the Chicago based law firm Kirkland & Ellis, LLP is representing the school pro bono in what could become a protracted legal battle. How did the situation come to this? The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the School formally split in 2017 as a requirement of accreditation; under Higher Learning Commission regulations, accredited schools must be separate from their parent institution. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two bodies to dictate the terms of how they would interact. When the news first broke of the closure, dueling editorials published in AN from the Governing Board of the School and from Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, laid fault at the feet of each other. The School claimed that: “The Foundation presented our school with two options. One was to close the school when the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) expired this summer. The Foundation’s other option was to keep the School of Architecture at Taliesin open for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Foundation wanted the school to immediately terminate our accreditation under those terms. The Foundation also wanted the school to then help create a new non-accredited program to be run by the former.” In his rebuttal, however, Graff claimed the School has always been a financial drag on the Foundation and that they were subsidizing its continued existence. Citing what he called “aspirational, but unrealistic” enrollment and fundraising targets, Graff wrote that the Foundation was materially incapable of supporting the school any longer. Additionally, the Foundation released a previously confidential memo from the School’s Governing Board that seemed to confirm their version of events; in it, Dan Schweiker, the chairperson of the Board of Governors, admitted that “We do not have, nor will we have in the foreseeable future the resources needed to successfully operate our current model. We do not have the funding to even have the state of the art software programs that graduates need to gain successful employment. Our students are immensely talented, but we need to give them the proper tools. No matter how romantic or quixotic are aspirations are, they fail to meet current reality.” He then recommended that the school drop its accreditation and move students to ASU, close enrollment, and sign a new, one-year memorandum. Whoever the responsible party was, there was an outpouring of support for keeping the school open. A petition to save SoAT has nearly hit its 10,000-signature goal, editorials from former students and staff piled up across architecture outlets, and plenty of memes have been posted at the Foundation (though Graff has asked the parties responsible to stop). And, thanks to community efforts, it seems the winds have shifted. Today, the SoAT board confirmed that they had secured additional funding and have long-term operating viability. However, the final word still lies with the Foundation, and according to the media release sent to AN, the school board is “now calling on the Foundation to allow the School to extend its existing agreement so it can remain open, but the Foundation is being resistant and still retains the power to force the School to close unless a deal is reached.” Schweiker also provided the following quote:
“The legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright embodied by the School is, as the outpouring of support has shown, one of international importance. The quality of the work the students have been doing in recent years is excellent. It would be a severe blow to the future of architecture if these talented students would not have the chance to continue this legacy.”The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation provided the following statement when asked for comment: “The Foundation has no proposal from the School other than what it reads in the media. We therefore have nothing to respond to.” The Foundation later followed up with a full editorial, readable here. This is an evolving story and this article will be updated as more information comes in.
In collaboration with the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (FLWF), the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (FLWSA) has raised more than $2 million dollars from 317 contributors. To comply with new accreditation requirements, the school is in the process of becoming an independent subsidiary of the foundation. The funds are an important milestone on the FLWSA's journey towards financial stability. The FLWSA was founded by Wright in 1932 at Taliesin, his home in Spring Green, Wisconsin. The school, with a current enrollment of 19 students in its M.Arch program, is now dually located at Taliesin and Taliesin West, in Scottsdale. In 2011, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) changed its accreditation requirements, stipulating that it will no longer grant accreditation to schools which operate under umbrella institutions with "multifaceted missions." The FLWF, whose purpose is to "preserve Taliesin and Taliesin West for future generations, and enrich society through an understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ideas, architecture, and design,” is helping the school on its mission. As part of the agreement, the foundation will loan the school classroom and residential facilities at Taliesin and Taliesin West. The FLWF will put $1.4 million over four years towards the operating costs of the school, in addition to a $7 million investment over the same period. FLWSA's dean, Aaron Betsky, outlined the direction the school will take: “We have been hard at work with the Foundation’s staff and Board to ensure the School’s future not just in financial and organizational terms, but also by improving its curriculum and by developing programs that continue Wright’s legacy in organic architecture and learning by doing in ways that answer to our needs for a more sustainable, open, and beautiful human-made environment.” Students will design and build desert shelters, as well as take newly added courses in digital fabrication, design, and theory. The school has a four year partnership with the mining towns of Miami and Globe, Arizona. Students will carry out community–based projects in those communities and in similar towns near Taliesin. To solidify accreditation, the foundation and the school board will prepare a "Change of Control" application for the HLC to review in June 2016. If the HLC approves, the foundation will file documents with state and federal agencies to legally recognize the school as an independent subsidiary of the foundation. If all goes smoothly, the process is expected to be complete by early 2017.
The search for a new leader of Frank Lloyd Wright's School of Architecture concluded today, as the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation named Aaron Betsky the new dean in charge of Taliesin. Betsky previously served as director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, but stepped down from that position in January 2014. He was previously the director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and he directed the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2008. He has authored numerous books on art and architecture and continues to blog for Architect. Split between campuses in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Scottsdale, Arizona, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is in the middle of a fundraising campaign that could decide the future of the school's accreditation. Facing new rules from the Higher Learning Commission, officials from the institution said they must raise at least $2 million before the end of 2015, or the school will lose its standing once those new rules take effect in 2017. Betsky will "set the intellectual tone or the School," according to a press release, but he will also have to help tackle the school's financial challenges. "Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture broke the box and opened vistas toward a democratic landscape; he made organic architecture and built with, rather than on, the land before anybody talked about sustainable architecture," Betsky said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing the tradition of experimental architecture he did so much to define." The future of that tradition, however, remains uncertain. In December Sean Malone, president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, said the school would remain committed to design education even if they are no longer able to award accredited degrees after 2017. With Betsky at the helm that mission appears intact; the Foundation said they will continue to award degrees at their Taliesin East and Taliesin West campuses either way, perhaps in partnership with accredited institutions. "We wanted a bold thinker and a talented leader," Malone said in a statement, "and we found both in Aaron." Betsky, who was born in Montana but grew up in the Netherlands, succeeds Victor Sidy, who returns to his private architectural practice. Betsky assumes the role of dean immediately.
A house designed by Edward Durell Stone, located in Darien, Connecticut, is under threat of demolition to make way for a developer’s vision: a neocolonial pastiche home. The 2,334-square-foot home is sited on a 1.1 acre wooded lot in the private community of Tokeneke. The house represents a transitional moment in Stone's multifaceted career. Constructed for client Walter Johnson, an IBM executive, the house is one of only two Stone-designed homes in the Constitution State. Designed in 1953, the house marks a pivotal turn in Stone’s architectural career. It was the end of what is defined as his austerely modern, “hair shirt” phase, a term loosely borrowed from a monastic practice of wearing horsehair shirts as repentance. Secondly, this was the year that the famously drunk architect committed to sobriety, at the behest of his second wife. Finally, the Darien house was his final work to outwardly emulate Wrightian detailing, a practice that began with Stone’s visit to Taliesin in 1940. “This is one of the last of father’s rustic vernacular homes that emulates the work of Frank Lloyd Wright,” his son, Hicks Stone, recently told AN. “The house is based on a dog trot house, which is common in the southern central U.S., but it’s a unique fusion of American vernacular and Wrightian style with Japanese elements.” Original finishes and detailing still exist in the home, such as textured rice paper shoji screens. Ornamental lighting and wood paneling also remains in good condition. At press time, sale of the home through Halstead Properties had not been finalized.
The World Monuments Fund has announced its 2014 Watch List for cultural sites at risk by changes in economy, society, and politics within their respective countries and disrepair due to natural forces. For 2014, the Monument Watch List, compiled and released every two years since 1996, has cited 67 heritage risks in 41 countries and territories around the world. These sites range from Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1911-built Taliesin home in Wisconsin, submissive to elements of weathering, to the tree-lined Palisades cliffs in New York and New Jersey, jeopardized by corporate construction plans, to all of the cultural sites of Syria, risked by current war conflict. Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin The World Monuments Fund explains:
The low-lying structures of Taliesin seem in harmony with the rugged landscape, neither feature imposing upon the other. But the forces of nature, including exposure to the elements over time, have put the complex at risk. Taliesin was included on the 2010 Watch to draw attention to these issues, and now the Hillside Theater, the most public of the spaces at Taliesin, is suffering from water infiltration, perimeter drainage issues, a failing roof, and other problems with the building envelope. Due to the experimental nature of the design and materials used to construct Taliesin, the structures face special conservation challenges requiring extensive research and innovative solutions.Cultural Heritage Sites of Syria The World Monuments Fund explains:
Escalating violence in Syria since 2011 has had devastating effects on the country’s cultural heritage. From the ancient souk, or marketplace, in Aleppo, to the iconic Crac des Chevaliers—two castles that were built between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries as regional fortifications during the Crusades—to Qal’at al-Mudiq, an archaeological tell that forms part of the classical city of Apamea, the destruction of Syria’s most significant and symbolic sites is of urgent and primary concern, with irreversible implications for the country’s architectural legacy.The Cloisters and the Palisades, New York and New Jersey The World Monuments Fund explains:
The Cloisters Museum itself houses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of European medieval art and incorporates monastic architectural elements in its design including stone and stained-glass panels for the doors, and windows. Since its opening in 1938, a defining feature of visiting the Cloisters is an extraordinary vista across the Hudson River to the Palisades. Plans are underway to construct a corporate headquarters and a residential complex on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, modifying zoning legislation to accommodate towers that rise above the once protected tree line of the Palisades. ... An appeal is underway, and it is hoped that inclusion on the Watch will raise awareness about the loss to future generations posed by this development and others that may follow.East Japan Earthquake Heritage Sites After a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and related tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, the World Monuments Fund set the heritage sites of the coastal regions of Tohoku and Kanto on its 2012 Watch List. Since then, the WMF collaborated with the Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research to save over 700 national monuments affected by the disaster. Several historic architectural structures were damaged or destroyed by the power of the quake. Although progress has been made, the landmarks which are important to the tourism of the region, are still at risk, in need of grants for continued restoration. Güell Pavilions and Garden, Barcelona, Spain The World Monuments Fund explains:
After Güell's death the estate was converted into a palace for the Spanish Royal Family. The site was later acquired by the University of Barcelona during its expansion into this area in the 1950s, and it now forms part of the Avinguda Diagonal campus of the university. Public access to the garden has been limited, but a new master plan prepared by the university and the city's Municipal Institute of Urban Landscape and Quality of Life provides for improved access to the site by visitors and expanded use for university events. Repairs to the structures are necessary, and a project to rehabilitate the roof of the stable is already underway with funding from the Spanish Ministry of Education. More resources are needed to implement this well-conceived plan for the benefit of all citizens of Barcelona, and the millions who visit this enchanting city every year.Elevators of Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile The World Monuments Fund explains:
The Elevators of Valparaíso have been included on the 2014 Watch to emphasize the continuing need for the restoration of the city’s most picturesque feature and an important vehicle for social interaction. The elevators have served as the main method of transportation along the city’s steep topography and were fundamental to its urban development. They symbolize Valparaíso’s preeminence as a maritime center, a position it lost after the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Of the 31 original elevators, only 15 remain, of which just 7 are operational. The loss of these vital transit arteries has had negative impacts on the city. A plan unifying community, municipal, and private entities in a collective effort to protect and maintain the elevators is needed to ensure their long-term survival and the revitalization of important neighborhoods in Valparaíso.Cultural Heritage Sites of Mali Since armed conflicts began in Mali in 2012, the country’s heritage sites have been endangered and have suffered some damage. According to the WMF, “nine of the sixteen mausoleums within the World Heritage Site boundaries of Timbuktu were destroyed by rebel forces.” And now, troops are advancing to encroach on the Bandiagara Escarpment in Dogon country and the natural material architectural structures there. Christ Church at Zanzibar, Tanzania The World Monuments Fund explains:
Stone Town has a number of important sites that together have created a vibrant tourist industry, but sectarian conflict, lack of financial resources, and political issues pose ongoing challenges to implementing restoration projects on many of its sites. Nevertheless, plans are under development for formal training and capacity-building programs at Christ Church Cathedral, and there are strong networks in place for local stewardship of the site. Christ Church Cathedral and the Former Slave Market Site is included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch to promote its conservation and its role in a broader revitalization strategy for Stone Town; one that will be compelling to the international community but will also support Zanzibari citizens and their local economy.Battersea Power Station, London, United Kingdom The World Monuments Fund explains:
Since 1983, Battersea Power Station has been closed to the public, marking a thirty-year period of abandonment and lack of appropriate maintenance. The station was first listed on the Watch in 2004, and its impending demolition was averted. Ten years later, the Power Station’s future is once again in question. Located on prime London real estate, the site is slated for imminent redevelopment. There is concern that current plans do not adequately protect the iconic chimneys and the important viewsheds of the power station’s silhouette. The local community is engaged and vested in the future of their swathe of London, and the international community recognizes the cultural significance of this twentieth-century icon. Inclusion on the Watch seeks to reinvigorate and contribute to conversations regarding the long-term stewardship of Battersea Power Station.The complete list by country is as follows: Argentina · Church and Monastery of St. Catherine of Siena, Buenos Aires Armenia · Bardzrakash St. Gregory Monastery, Dsegh, Lori Province Belgium · Collegiale Sainte-Croix de Liege, Liege Brazil · Serra da Moeda, Minas Gerais Chile · Elevators of Alparaíso, Valparaíso · Palacio La Alhambra, Santiago China · Pokfulam Village, Hong Kong Colombia · Ancient Ridged Fields of the San Jorge River Floodplain, Córdoba and Sucre Departments Comoros · Funi Aziri Bangwe, Ikoni, Grande Comore Ecuador · Remigio Crespo Toral Museum, Cuenca, Azuay Province Egypt · Bayt-Al-Razzaz, Cairo Ethiopia · Yemrehanna Kristos, Amhara Region France · Churches of Saint-Merri and Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Paris Germany · Gaslight and Gas Lamps of Berlin, Berlin Guatemala · Uaxactun, Petén Department Guyana · Georgetown City Hall, Georgetown India · Historic City of Bidar, Karnataka · House of Shaikh Salim Chishti, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh · Juna Mahal, Dungarpur, Rajasthan Indonesia · Ngada Villages of Flores, Flores, Nusa Tenggara · Peceren and Dokan, Karo District, North Sumatra · Trowulan, Mojokerto, East Java Iraq · Khinnis Reliefs, Kurdistan Region Italy · Farnese Aviaries, Rome · Historic Center of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Abruzzo · Muro Dei Francesi, Ciampino, Province of Rome, Lazio · Venice, Venice, Veneto Japan · East Japan Earthquake Heritage Sites, Tohoku and Kanto Regions · Sanro-Den of Sukunahikona Shrine, Ozu, Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku Jordan · Damiya Dolmen Field, Damiya, Jordan Valley Kenya · Lamu Old Town, Lamu Macedonia · Monastery of Poloshko, Kavadarci Municipality Mali · Cultural Heritage Sites of Mali Mexico · Fundidora Park, Monterrey, Nuevo León · Retablos de los Altos de Chiapas, San Cristóbal de las Casas and Teopisca, Chiapas Mozambique · Island of Mozambique, Napula Province Myanbar · Yangon Historic City Center, Yangon Nigeria · Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, Osogbo, Osun State Pakistan · Shikarpoor Historic City Center, Shikarpoor Municipality Palestinian Territory · Ancient Irrigated Terraces of Battir, Bethlehem Governorate, West Bank Peru · Capilla de la Virgen Concebida de Kuchuhuasi, Quispicanchi, Cusco · Cerro Sechín, Casma, Ancash · Chan Chan, Trujilli, La Libertad · Gran Pajatén, Mariscal Céceres, San Martín Portugal · Fort of Graça, Elvas, Alentjo · Joanine Library of the University of Coimbra, Coimbra Romania · Great Synagogue of Iasi, Iasi · Wooden Churches of Northern Oltenia and Southern Transylvania, Northern Oltenia and Southern Transylvania Singapore · Bukit Brown Spain · Güell Pavilions and Garden, Barcelona · Iglesia Parroquial San Pedro Apóstol, Buenache de Alarcón, Cuenca Syria · Cultural Heritage Sites of Syria Tanzania · Christ Church Cathedral, Zanzibar, Stone Town, Zanzibar · Dar es Salaam Historic Center, Dar es Salaam · House of Wonders and Palace Museum, Stone Town, Zanzibar Turkey · Cathedral of Mren, Digor, Kars United Kingdom · Battersea Power Station, London · Deptform Dockyard and Sayes Court Garden, London · Grimsby Ice Factory and Kasbah, Grimsby, Lincolnshire · Sulgrave Manor, Sulgrave, Northamptonshire United States · Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas · George Najashima House, Studio, and Workshop, Bucks County, Pennsylvania · Henry Klumb House, San Juan, Puerto Rico · Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, Missouri · Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin · The Cloisters and Palisades, New York and New Jersey Venezuela · Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas, Caracas
Iron skillet meets iron fist. Some of the most striking visuals to come out of this year's TED conference weren't made for the stage but for the street: Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution truck, an 18-wheeled kitchen classroom designed pro bono by Rockwell Group, launched last week and represents just one of the outcomes of Oliver's 2010 TED Prize wish to make kids healthier. The wish of this year's TED Prize winner, the artist currently known as "JR," is that people will participate in his global art project INSIDE/OUT and help paper streets with gigantic portraits of themselves. Step 1: set up photo booths that print poster size pics of conference participants--quite a surreal experience, writes Guy Horton for Good. Get over it. So says the New Republic to New Yorkers who complain that New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has stepped on some toes in her quest to make streets slimmer, bike lanes fatter, and pedestrians safer. The griping was highlighted in a March 4 profile of the commissioner in the New York Times. Leaky legend. The Economist reports that Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in Spring Green, Wisconsin, is banking on this year's 100th anniversary of the site to raise money for much-needed restoration work: the roof is leaking, the wood beams are sagging, and families of bats keep trying to settle down in the rafters. Urban archaeology, armchair edition. Yurbanism rounds up new apps that are sure to appeal to urbanists, like "Abandoned," which uses GPS to identify abandoned buildings near your location, complete with links to pics: “Explore modern day ruins from empty mental asylums to shipwrecks under the Great Lakes. Discover the history and location of dead amusement parks, overgrown hospitals, forgotten hotels and creepy ghost towns.”