Taliesin East

While traveling in Wisconsin I visited Taliesin, the home, studio and school of Frank Lloyd Wright. America’s most famous 20th century architect built, and rebuilt multiple times, a complex of buildings in a valley his immigrant grandparents had settled in the early 19th century.

The estate remains in private hands and can only be viewed by being on a tour.  Our guide informed us of many interesting anecdotes about Wright and his family. I learned that the architect hated the way people tended to stop and congregate at the doorway of a home, effectively blocking the entrance, so he designed that area in his home, and in the homes of his clients, with very low ceilings. A feeling of claustrophobia kept guests moving toward the open space and light of the living room.

Wright advised his clients to put as little expense as possible into the spaces they used the least, specifically, the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom. Attics and basements were eliminated completely because he said they filled with unused junk. His idea was to make the living room, dining room, library and den the largest because that’s where clients were presumed to spend most of their time; entertaining guests. Wright designed not for his client’s comforts but for the comforts of his client’s guests.  Oh, how American lifestyles have changed!