A visit to Taliesin West

Taliesin West is located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Like the original Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, Taliesin West is both a home and a laboratory for Frank Lloyd Wright’s building concepts. It’s also a home for the School of Architecture, which FLW organized with a hands-on, apprenticeship type of approach.

The surrounding landscape is, to be blunt, brutal. The number of plants that can cause serious pain is stunning. The cholla cactus thrives and seems to stalk the unwary hiker. Thorns easily penetrate thick-soled running shoes.

The built environment, however, makes up for the nastiness of the natural environment. The property, with its multiple structures, is a testament to FLW’s genius for creating compelling spaces, and advancing the art of building. The use of indigenous materials, in this instance, was successful in tying the structures to the site, as well as being economical.

A visit to Taliesin West

The Wrights’ living room at Taliesin West.

A visit to Taliesin West

A sculpture at Taliesin West that FLW picked up during his travels.

A visit to Taliesin West

Another view of the Wright’s living room. The space has a dramatic feel, yet it’s still warm. Abundant windows draw your gaze to the outside.

A visit to Taliesin West

More Asian art from Frank Lloyd Wright’s collection.

A visit to Taliesin West

The Cabaret at Taliesin West displays a remarkable understanding of acoustics. Our tour guide could speak at conversational volume and be heard 20-30 feet away.

A visit to Arcosanti

Paolo Soleri, architect and urban planning visionary, created Arcosanti as an “urban laboratory.” His vision included many factors society has had to rediscover over the past few decades, such as local food production, increased walkability in the built environment, and passive heating and cooling systems.

Soleri’s concept of arcology is a blend of architecture and ecology, an “urban system that can function as a hyper-organism.” The seven design principles behind the practice are meant to guide planners and designers in creating cities that are small, dense, complex, and self-sustaining, thus minimizing human effects on our environment.

While building Arcosanti with the help of thousands of volunteers, Soleri financed the project by making and selling wind bells and ceramic tiles.

More info at Paolo Soleri’s Vision of Sustainable Cities and Arcosanti.

A visit to Arcosanti

Arcosanti employs huge quantities of concrete, but also lots of hand work.

A visit to Arcosanti.

A model of Arcosanti. So far, only the dark gray structures are complete.

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The bell “factory” is located in one apse. The bells are silt formed here, then cast in the foundry.

A visit to Arcosanti

The apse is a common form in Soleri’s work.

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Arcosanti includes structures for all daily uses, including apartment-style housing.

Tiny homes in Portland

Tiny homes in Portland are attracting everyone from millennials to retirees. While at the Build Small, Live Large Summit, I toured a few tiny homes set up on the Portland State University campus. The two best designs were the Escape Traveler and the container from Modern Dwellings.

Tiny homes in Portland

A container project from Modern Dwellings, with excellent design and execution. The charred cedar siding is a traditional Japanese technique called “Shou Sugi Ban.”

Tiny homes in Portland

This container from Modern Dwellings has a great exterior stairway to the roof.

Tiny homes in Portland

The Escape Traveler is among the best designs I’ve seen.

Tiny homes in Portland

The Escape Traveler’s huge window brightens the entire place.

Portland landmarks

portland tram

Portland’s tram climbs from the South Waterfront District to the main Oregon Health & Science University campus.

Scout Beer Garden

The Scout Beer Garden, close by the tram station, is just an old RV set in an empty lot.

 

Scout Beer Garden

What a great idea!

Tilikum Crossing

Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People, opened in September, 2015.

 

sculpture

Sculpture in the Pearl District.

 

 

 

 

ADX maker-space in Portland

ADX is a maker-space in Portland, Oregon. They offer shop rental, tool rental, and the chance to mingle with creative people.

More info here.

ADX

ADX shop

ADX is a maker space in Portland. They have space for all kinds of projects, such as woodworking, metalwork, and sewing.

globe at ADX Portland

Funky globe at ADX in Portland.

The ADX woodshop is impressive.

The ADX woodshop is impressive.

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny houses are prominent in Portland

I recently traveled to Portland, Oregon, to attend the Build Small, Live Large Summit, aka the Tiny House Summit. I stayed at Caravan, the Tiny House Hotel, and experienced a lot of the Portland magic. This city has a focus on boosting affordable housing, as evidenced by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales speaking to the crowd.

A neat little parklet in the Alberta Arts District.

A neat little parklet in the Alberta Arts District, near the Tiny House Hotel.

Caravan Tiny House Hotel

We stayed one night at Caravan, the Tiny House Hotel. The Skyline was quite pleasant.

Caravan gate

Funky gate at the Tiny House Hotel.

flower pot

Creative flower pot

tiny house courtyard

Courtyard at the Tiny House Hotel

Caravan Tiny House Hotel