Reader's Choice: Lasting Impressions By Carolyn Weber and Christina B. Farnsworth
Name: Taliesen West
Location: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Year Built: 1937
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Why it's relevant: The home is the ultimate example of how to integrate a project into the landscape and play off the site's natural materials.
"Buildings that end up being beloved grow out of a sense of place," says architect Peter Dominick president of the Urban Design Group in Denver. The building that reflects that notion for him is Taliesin West.
As a student at the Yale School of Architecture, Dominick was inspired by the lectures of professor and architectural historian Vincent Scully, which brought the Sonoran Desert treasure to life before Dominick had ever seen it. "Scully got his students so excited about coming across the desert and seeing this masterpiece rising out of the earth with its relationships to the sand, sky, and rock," he remembers.
[Photo: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
When he finally visited Taliesin West 10 years later, the canvas-covered drafting room, large light-filled spaces wrapped around cooling pools of water in the desert, more than lived up to his expectations. "It inspired me to create buildings from ideas."
Dominick grew up loving natural landscapes and outdoor activities, but by his own admission, he is not a "Wrightian" and doesn't consider himself an organic architect. For a long time he couldn't imagine putting a building on a site without destroying it. "The work that Wright did helped me get through that," he says, "I saw how you could make buildings that actually enhance the landscape and allow you to see it in a different way."