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UNESCO Honours Frank Lloyd Wright

Eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings were recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage List and Scottsdale, Ariz. is fortunate enough to be home to my favourite – Taliesin West. Wright, who passed away in 1959 just two months’ short of his 92nd birthday, has had a huge impact on the area’s art and architecture scene.

UNESCO stated, “These buildings reflect the ‘organic architecture’ developed by Wright, which includes an open plan, a blurring of the boundaries between exterior and interior and the unprecedented use of materials such as steel and concrete. Each of these buildings offers innovative solutions to the needs for housing, worship, work or leisure. Wright’s work from this period had a strong impact on the development of modern architecture in Europe.”

Over 100,000 visitors from around the world travel to Scottsdale to visit Wright’s winter home and studio. Although Taliesin West is a huge attraction, Wright, who was a role model to many, inspired architects who also play a huge part in the city’s character.

Here are some ideas:

Hotel Valley Ho is a true icon in Old Town Scottsdale and the city’s only historically-designated hotel. Originally designed by Edward Varney, who was inspired by Wright, the property opened in 1956. Restored to its former splendour, this urban resort represents one of the best-preserved examples of mid-century modern architecture.

AZ88 is a contemporary restaurant designed by Michael P. Johnson, who taught at Taliesin West for 28 years and still frequents the restaurant. The main attraction is the sleek, white-washed dining room featuring an open floor plan, picture windows, cool washrooms and quirky, rotating modern art installations.

Cosanti is the gallery, studio and residence of Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri, who studied at Taliesin West under Wright for two years, featuring terraced landscaping with experimental earth-formed concrete structures. Cosanti is where Soleri and his late wife Colly Soleri established their home in 1956 on a site just a few miles away from Taliesin West.

The Soleri Bridge and Plaza piece of public art is the second pedestrian-only bridge to connect the Scottsdale Waterfront area with SouthBridge and downtown Scottsdale. The bridge was commissioned by Scottsdale Public Art and was completed in December 2010 as the first of famed Soleri. The plaza includes panels designed by Soleri and produced at Cosanti studio and houses the Goldwater Bell assembly.

Designed by Will Bruder, a student of Paolo Soleri, and located in Scottsdale’s Old Town district, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) offers contemporary art, architecture and design from around the corner and around the globe.

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