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Taliesin West

SoAT Announcement

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Taliesin’s Board of Directors Switches Course and Votes to Keep School Open

Board puts pressure on Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to extend its lease agreement

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – March 5, 2020 – The School of Architecture at Taliesin and its Board of Directors voted today to rescind its Jan. 25, 2020 vote to close the school and instead voted to keep it open.

Taliesin West and Taliesin were legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and school in the desert until his death in 1959 at age 91. Today there are the campuses of The School of Architecture at Taliesin (formerly named the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture), one of the best known architectural schools in the nation, in Arizona and Wisconsin.

Taliesin’s Board of Directors voted to close the school on Jan. 25, 2020 because the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which owns the land the school is on, informed the School it would not renew its Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties. That Memorandum acted as the School’s lease, and its termination as of July 31, 2020 left the Board had no recourse without these campuses.

The school’s closing came as a shock to the architectural world, which saw the school’s closure as a major loss to Wright’s legacy.

The Board cited several factors in voting for the reversal:

• The School has the strong possibility of major additional funding and students from several sources
• Students, alumni and the community have voiced their concern and wish to continue the School in very clear terms
• The Board determined that it can and will ask for mediation to resolve any issues that might prevent the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding
• The Board confirmed that its financial situation is such that it has long-term viability, especially in light of new support that has come forward since January of this year

Dan Schweiker, Chair of the school’s Board of Governors, said the 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 an agreement is reached.

“The legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright embodied by the school is, as the outpouring of support has shown, one of international importance,” Schweiker said. “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.”

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is representing pro bono the School of Architecture at Taliesin and the Board of Directors.

More information:
Taliesin West is a UNESCO World Heritage site and National Historic Landmark nestled in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, AZ. It is also Frank Lloyd Wright’s desert laboratory in Arizona and the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the School of Architecture at Taliesin. Wright’s beloved winter home and the bustling headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship, was established in 1937 and diligently handcrafted over many years into a world unto itself. Deeply connected to the desert from which it was forged, Taliesin West possesses an almost prehistoric grandeur. It was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it among the most personal of the architect’s creations.

Student Life

The Taliesin Culture

From culture to creativity, travel to community gatherings, life at Taliesin provides an experience unlike that of any other school, and one that students here will carry with them for the rest of their lives. While the heart of life at Taliesin revolves around the studio and the creative work produced by students in Frank Lloyd Wright’s historic drafting rooms, students are encouraged to gain perspective from field trips to local artists’ workshops, living in and building their own shelter, and joining the community around them.

Programs

Master of Architecture Degree

The School of Architecture at Taliesin offers a three-year immersive Master of Architecture (M.Arch) program designed for students who thrive in a multifaceted environment focusing on rigorous design, critical thinking, and hands-on learning. The small-scale of the School facilitates an individualized educational experience and fosters a close relationship between students, faculty, and staff.

The M.Arch degree is an accredited, professional graduate degree leading to qualifications for architectural licensing. Graduates of the program are prepared to enter leadership roles within the architectural profession and become licensed architects upon completion of internship experience and passing the architectural exam.

Immersion Program

The SoAT offers an 8-week Immersion experience at both the Taliesin and Taliesin West campuses. Geared to college-level participants and adults interested in deepening their understanding of architecture, this experience provides an opportunity to learn the discipline side-by-side with faculty and students.

During the program, participants investigate the basics of design, as well as the Taliesin campuses (Taliesin West in January-February, Taliesin in May-June). The Architecture Design Studio is the core of the Immersion experience and is housed in the studio drafting rooms, where Wright and his collaborators produced his work. During the course of the studio, students navigate the various phases of the architecture design process and explore architecture drawing and three-dimensional modeling techniques. Participants design an architecture project responding to a particular design challenge and the final projects are presented and reviewed by faculty and students.

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