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Taliesin School to Change Name, Locations

Monday, June 15, 2020

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Officials at the School of Architecture at Taliesin (the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin) have confirmed that it will be changing its name and moving its classes to the Cosanti and Arcosanti sites of Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri, in Arizona.

The move comes after a back-and-forth between the school and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation came to light at the beginning of the year.

Background

Officials announced in late January that the school, which encompasses Frank Lloyd Wright properties in Wisconsin and Arizona, would close in June.

Wright started the school nearly 90 years ago in 1932.

Jan Pauw, BY-CC 2.0, via Flickr

Officials at the School of Architecture at Taliesin (the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin) have confirmed that it will be changing its name and moving its classes to the Cosanti and Arcosanti (pictured) sites of Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri, in Arizona.

The school’s governing board said in a statement at the time that the decision was made after it couldn’t come to an agreement with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to keep the school operating. Official negotiations were not disclosed.

According to the Associated Press, the Foundation said in its own statement that the school did not have a sustainable business model. The boards of both organizations had come up with a proposal to keep the school going through the end of July 2021.

Had a proposal been adopted, the foundation would have donated use of Taliesin and Taliesin West to the school; however, the school’s board didn’t unanimously approve the plan. The decision left the foundation’s board “disappointed.”

Then, in March, officials announced that they were again trying to keep the school open, a decision that was prompted by letters from students and a Change.org petition that has amassed 10,000 signatures.

According to USA Today, former school President Aaron Betsky said at the time that the decision to try and remain open came as the school secured other funding sources, which were unspecified.

What Now

Dan Schweiker, the chairperson of the school’s Board of Governors, and Jon Kelley, a lawyer at Chicago-founded law firm Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, which is representing the school, said in an interview that the school is working to get approval from the state of Arizona and the Higher Learning Commission to formally hold in-person classes across both Soleri projects on a permanent basis.

The school is proceeding with virtual education throughout the summer in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.

Interim President Chris Lasch said in an interview that the switch to the Soleri sites will give the school the opportunity to continue its type of hand-on approach to teaching.

"Being able to find a place where we can continue our kind of immersive architectural education experience and having the space to do these experimental design, build projects on campus make these places a really good fit," he said.

"They are kind of similar places, designed around the idea that learning and practicing architecture would happen in a hands-on way that is the foundation of the work at Taliesin and Taliesin West."

   

Tagged categories: Architecture; Asia Pacific; Color + Design; Design; Education; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Frank Lloyd Wright; Latin America; North America; Z-Continents

Comment from john lienert, (6/15/2020, 6:59 AM)

Mr. Wright would be really pissed-off if he were around.


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