The School of Architecture at Taliesin: An Iconic Institution Closes Its Doors
After more than eight decades, the acclaimed Frank Lloyd Wright-founded school will close after the spring semester.
While The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is preparing to expand educational programs for professionals and others, the board recently announced that the famed School of Architecture at Taliesin (SoAT) will close at the end of its Spring semester. The School, which originally opened its doors in Spring Green, Wisconsin, in 1932 to 23 students under the tutelage of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, has continued to provide exemplary education and hands-on learning experiences to the young architects for more than eight decades. In 1937, the School expanded to Taliesin West in Scottsdale.
In discussions between the organizations, SoAT Board leaders had communicated unequivocally to the Foundation that the School did not have a sustainable business model that would allow it to maintain its operation as an accredited program. As a result, leaders of the Boards of the two organizations had developed a proposal that would have allowed the school to continue operations on the Foundation’s two campuses—use of which was donated to SoAT by the Foundation since it became an independent organization—through the end of July, 2021. During that transition period, the organizations would have worked collaboratively to develop alternative programs for which accreditation was not needed.
“The Foundation had reached an agreement with the leaders of the SoAT Board that would have allowed for second- and third-year students to complete their education at Taliesin and Taliesin West, and we are disappointed that it was not approved by the full SoAT Board. We continue to stand ready to assist in making sure that this change occurs in the best interests of the students,” said Stuart Graff, President and CEO of the Foundation.
In light of the SoAT announcement, the Foundation will maintain and expand its impact on the field of architecture and design by advancing Wright’s legacy through its educational programs, K-12 through adult ongoing education. The Foundation wants to ensure that it has the ability to work with a variety of partners to develop professional education programs for architects, preservation specialists, and design professionals that will keep the Taliesin campuses vital places for the development of organic architecture in the future.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has been experiencing substantial growth, with record numbers of visitors, expanded student participation in its education programs, added new arts programming and increased philanthropic support. Its campuses, Taliesin and Taliesin West, are National Historic Landmarks and are included in the Frank Lloyd Wright UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription.
As the Foundation makes plans to continue Wright’s legacy of general and professional education, new programs will permit it to invest its financial and physical resources in its core mission by developing more inclusive, broader opportunities for promoting and sharing the legacy of the iconic architect’s vision. Taliesin and Taliesin West remain open, welcoming visitors from around the world to experience Wright’s homes and working environment, and programming—including tours, events, arts, and K-12 education—carries on without interruption.
The Foundation will be consulting with many of its existing partners and expects to announce new programs and partnerships.