Taliesin — The House

After years of thinking about a visit to Taliesin, we finally made the trip.   The architectural mecca in America.   Frank Lloyd Wright is considered to be the greatest architect of our time.   Taliesin was Wright's home, a fully working farm, a school for fledgling understudies and, today, a fully accredited school of architecture.

Photographs were not allowed inside the facilities of Taliesin.   Fine to photograph the outside of buildings and of the grounds but inside was off limits.   Inside, there is a wide collection of Japanese art, wood block prints, 12-panel screens, lacquer ware and blue and white porcelain commonly referred to a “amari” in Japan.   He obtained this collection during his stay in Japan in the early 1900's during the construction of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

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The main house is beautifully set on a hill overlooking a beautiful valley.   The house has been built and re-built three times; twice destroyed or partially so by fire.   The first fire was a tragedy of enormous proportions.   Wright himself was away and his wife was home with hired help.   She fired one of the help and he sought revenge by killing Mrs. Wright and six others with an axe.   He then set fire to the house.

But, this is not to be a history of Taliesin, I am not that knowledgeable.   There are other sources that can be read.

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The house has considerable structural problems.   Some of which can be attributed to the fact that after the fire, debris was just pushed off to the side and then the house was constructed over the waste.   Much of the restoration to date has involved jacking to stop settlement and rebuilding of the foundation which involved the removal of the fire debris.   In the above photograph, one can see the bracing to prevent the wall from falling over.

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Here we are entering the main entrance.   The original entry was on the other side of the building and involved a portecochere for horse drawn carriages.   The present entry will accommodate automobiles and is guarded by a pair of “shi-shi dogs”, collected from Japan.

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The Chinese will say this is a lion fulfilling guard duties.   It is said that to make sure that the lion doesn't leave its post, give it a ball.   He will put his foot on the ball and not leave.

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Needed repairs are evident and eventually with time and money perhaps the work can be completed.   Portions of the shake roof were under repair or re-roofing.   The exterior plaster or stucco has a sand finish, the sand taken from the nearby Wisconsin River.   It reminded me of the typical Japanese house of the 1960's that had a sandy wall finish.   I wondered if he also brought from Japan.

Taliesin — Hillside Architectural School

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The left and lower portion is an auditorium where students hone their skills at presentation of their ideas.   There was a beautiful stage curtain and off to the side a wonderful, very large, 12-panel Japanese screen, neither of which could not be photographed

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The entry is within the deep shadows.   A connecting bridge to the “classroom” with many drafting tables in a huge room.

Visitor Center

Built in 1957 as a place to meet with potential clients complete with dining facilities, it is now a visitor center with restaurant and gift shop.   Food was quite good and very reasonable in price.

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The view is wonderful, overlooking the Wisconsin River.

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Some time ago I was in a class being taken to learn HTML and we had an assignment that was to use the <cite> tag.   For this assignment I used several of Frank Lloyd Wright's famous quotes.

We spent the afternoon on day one taking a guided tour of the house and the next morning a short tour of Hillside.   So what did we do next?   Lunch at the Visitor Center and then on to Milwaukee.   Please continue on to this next page because I think you will see something nice.

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All photographs copyright Charles R. Simon, © 2011