Taliesin West

Academy of the overrated.

Desirous of avoiding cold winters at his home, named Taliesin from the Welsh, in Wisconsin, Frank Lloyd Wright built Taliesin West in Scottsdale, minutes from my home there.

Touring it with my son the other day I was reminded of the scene in Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’ where Woody and friends are exiting a cinema with two of the friends naming candidates for what they call ‘The Academy of the Overrated’, whose honorees include Mahler, Scott Fitzgerald, Norman Mailer, Van Gogh and Ingmar Bergman, the latter to Woody’s especial dismay. Well, you can add Frank Lloyd Wright to the list.

This is an architect who goes out of his way to be different yet never creates anything new. The results, as often as not, are just plain silly:

The low door entrance was explained as a ‘venturi’ to suck visitors in. In reality all it does is suck.

The pretentiousness extends to a near total avoidance of right angles, Wright seemingly being incapable of working with them.

Unimproved parking lot passing as architecture.

More silly angles. The wooden construction is so shoddy that expensive remediation with structural steel is being undertaken. A wrecking ball would be faster.

What sort of idiot makes a triangular swimming pool?

Survive these spikes and you get to the triangular (surprise!) movie theater.

Lost for ideas as to how to terminate the long run of the guest quarters, Wright came up with this excresence.

See what I mean?

If you want to see the ultimate example of Wright’s sheer mediocrity, go no further than the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue in NYC. An example, if ever there was one, of appearance attempting to err …. trump …. lack of talent.

Save your money. Go elsewhere.

iPhone6 snaps on a rare overcast day in Scottsdale.


Gateway to the Grand Canyon.

Flagstaff, some 150 miles north of Phoenix, is a former lumber town now largely dedicated to tourism, being one hour away from the Grand Canyon.

A quick visit to the latter with my son saw us stop for lunch in Flagstaff, enjoying the historic downtown area.

The Babbitt Brothers building was the center of Flagstaff retail through 1987.

The Coconino Courthouse Building dates from the late 19th century, remaining in use today.

Sign of the past.

Alleyways in Old Town are replete with this sort of thing.

Murals abound ….

…. as does abstraction.

The downtown arts scene is vibrant.

Preservation of old architecture is to be applauded.

The sentry

Evening visitor.

Nikon D3x, 300mm f/4.5 Ai-S Nikkor.

He drops by every evening between five and six, announcing the all clear for his clan which then descends on the pool for an evening libation. I keep the little waterfall on for them to make things friendlier.

Then there will be a sudden panic and the lot takes off after several minutes of hanging out.

This is Gambel’s Quail, native to Arizona and you can read more and hear his lovely call here.