Fast Company writer Diana Budds takes a look at a restoration project planned for Frank Lloyd Wright's revered Taliesin West, which, since its construction in 1937, has remained a continuously used and esteemed architectural icon of the 20th century. The Arizona desert home, which is currently 80 years old, served as Wright's winter residence and school until his death in 1959. Today, his "living laboratory" operates as an architecture school, and is beginning to show its age.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation recently tapped Chicago-based Harboe Architects to conceptualize a preservation strategy to restore the campus' deteriorating, damaged, and outdated portions to its original luster. Architect-in-charge Gunny Harboe finds the project's main challenges are to revamp the campus for future generations while keeping it alive and active throughout the process, and restore Wright's original intent for its purpose.
"It's, what are the heritage values that are there or are either compromised or even missing?" Harboe says about the overarching preservation plan and interventions. "How do we get back to creating a place that embodies those values so that people really understand what Taliesin is all about? The chief goal is to have a really rewarding experience and to experience what was in Wright’s mind."