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Sasaki to Lead Comprehensive Plan for Taliesin West World Heritage Site

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has selected integrated design practice Sasaki to create a new, comprehensive plan for Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. This iconic site holds significant cultural and architectural importance as the winter home and desert laboratory of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The comprehensive plan will honor and enhance Taliesin West’s legacy while ensuring its sustainability and relevance for future generations. Key goals include a consolidated plan and documentation to guide future work on the property, creating a responsive site approach and design that respects the local ecology, and developing a comprehensive vision for the site alongside the new Interpretive Plan based on extensive audience research conducted in 2019. 

A History of Innovation & Desert Ecology

Taliesin West was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019, a recognition of its outstanding universal value. Starting in 1938, the site served as Wright’s winter camp and studio, embodying his principles of organic architecture and blending harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. The Sonoran Desert surrounding Taliesin West is a vital component of its design and plays a crucial role in the site’s development and sustainability.

“After Wright’s death in 1959, development at Taliesin West was not planful or by design,” said Stuart Graff, President and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “New technologies, societal changes, and even climate change make having a thoughtful path forward important to the Foundation and the surrounding community.”

The Sonoran Desert is one of the most biologically diverse deserts in the world, home to many distinct species of flora and fauna adapted to survive in its harsh and arid conditions. Saguaro cacti, ocotillo, and palo verde trees are just a few of the plant species that thrive in this environment. Respecting the site’s desert conditions is essential when designing for Taliesin West. Our plan will examine the impact of climate change on these sensitive plant communities and prioritize sustainable design practices that reduce the site’s impact on the surrounding ecosystem.

Preserving the Past, Planning the Future

The Foundation is working with Sasaki to develop an Interpretive Master plan for the site as it aims to develop new modes of engagement and a wide array of tour and public programs, while maintaining a commitment to best practices in historic preservation and sustainable site management as outlined in the Taliesin West Preservation Plan.

“We are honored to work with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to help shape the future of Taliesin West,” said Sasaki Principal Susannah Drake. “Taliesin West is not just a historic site; it is a living testament to Wright’s visionary approach to architecture and design. Our team is collaborating with the Foundation to create a plan that respects the site’s heritage while embracing ecology and sustainability.”

The comprehensive plan for Taliesin West represents a significant step in ensuring the long-term preservation and vitality of this architectural masterpiece. By engaging with the site’s history and ecology, Sasaki’s plan will guide the evolution of Taliesin West as a dynamic cultural destination and educational resource for years to come.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Sasaki are working together to further Wright’s Legacy of innovation and sustainable development into the future. The new comprehensive plan will be designed with a deep commitment to preserving and celebrating the site’s architectural and cultural heritage. By revitalizing this iconic site, the comprehensive plan not only ensures the preservation of a historic landmark, but also reaffirms the importance of contextual design that’s rooted in place.



Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Henry Hendrix
Vice President of Marketing and Communications 

Eric Baldwin 
Director of Communications & Public Relations

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