Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

-AZ I-10 Roadtrip

Lykes Residence (1959-66)

Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect

6636 N. 36th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85018

Aerial View and Directions

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“Wright’s last residential design to be built by the original client” – as identified in William Allin Storrer’s book The Architecture of Frank LLoyd Wright A Complete Catalog.

The design was sketched by Wright before his death in 1959, and Taliesin Fellow John Rattenbury supervised construction, which didn’t commence until 1966.

This pink block building gracefully arcs on the desert hillside above Phoenix. Clearly visible from the road, you can appreciate the mature work of Wright by taking a short roadtrip up 36th street from the city.

There are several Wright houses in the Phoenix area, but most are not very visible from the street. You can see the gate and part of the roof of the Harold Price Sr. house (1954) at 7211 Tatum. The David Wright House (1950) at 3212 E. Exeter had recently been purchased at the time of my visit, and was under renovation with a construction fence around the property. The Adelman Residence (1951) at 5802 N. 30th Street, is visible across a very large front lawn, but what I was able to see was not of great note (in my opinion). Next door is the Boomer Residence (1953) at 5808 N. 30th Street. Through the densely wooded yard you can just make out the roof from the street. The Carlson House (1950) at 1123 W. Palo Verde Dr. is a white paneled house with bright blue trim behind a block wall and blue metal fence. The carport is visible from the road, but the most prominent feature on site at the time of my visit was a classic red convertible.

After the roadtrip hunting down the Wright houses, even if just to catch a glimpse, I recommend a drink and dinner at Wright’s at the Biltmore, a fine food restaurant in the Arizona Biltmore (1927). See Traverse360 Restaurants for a description.

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Taliesin West (1937)

Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect

12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 95261

Aerial View and Directions

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From the archives, Visited September 24, 2009

This is a “must see” destination for all Architecture Tourists – Frank Lloyd Wright’s own winter home and studio in Scottsdale AZ at the foot of the McDowell Mountains in the Arizona desert. Visiting you really can sense that it feels more like a camp than a permanent complex of buildings. As you would expect from Wright’s best buildings, the building is -as he would put it-  “of the site”, not on the site. With the inclusion of the native american petroglyphs at the entrance, and the native materials used in the “Desert Masonry” walls, it feels as though it has been there forever – and I hope it remains there for many more generations to experience in person. Photos do not capture that sense of place and discovery that you experience walking through in person (and I have seen hundreds if not thousands of photos of Taliesin West over the many years). Taliesin West houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and still teaches architecture to its “apprentices” at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

There are many types of tours available for Architectural Tourists. Check out the Taliesin West Tour Webpage for details.

I took the 3-hour Behind the Scenes Tour, but there are also less expensive 1-hour tours, 90 minute tours, and Night Light tours. Take your pick and I am sure you will not leave disapointed with any of them.

Not only is Taliesin West worth the trip to tour the complex, it also has a great bookstore and gift shop. The Frank Lloyd Wright Archives are also housed there for scholars and researchers to study the principles of Wright’s work. Checkout the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Website for details.

This is truly a working/living facility, not a mothballed museum behind plexiglas – come and experience it for yourself!

After exploring Taliesin West, I recommend you stay on theme and head to the Arizona Biltmore and relax over a drink and dinner at Wright’s at the Biltmore, a Traverse360Restaurant recommendation.


Gammage Memorial Auditorium (1959)

Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect

Arizona State University

Apache Blvd. at Mill Ave. , Tempe AZ 85281

Aerial View and Map

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From the archives, visited September 27, 2009

This building was never a favorite of mine while studying Wright’s architecture in college. I was in Phoenix to visit Taliesin West, and while there I located and visited all of Wright’s buildings in the area. This building surprised me, and I left liking it. In person, there are interesting perspectives and almost frivolous details in the copper colored arches cascading down the ramps holding the simple white globe lights in copper colored rings. The pink lollypop colonnade still perplexes me, but the brick rotunda in the rear with its row of shallow arches (reminiscent of Saarinen’s chapel at MIT) was strong and well worth the stop.

A Place to Stay:

On this trip I stayed at the aLoft in Tempe. Convenient with a cool vibe. Check it out on Traverse360 Hotels.