Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Taliesin Details

Commentator e mentioned (see yesterday) that Taliesin West is a "house for dwarfs," which reminded me that the Wisconsin Taliesin isn't much better. I'm just a shade above 6 feet (about 183 cm) tall, and very often the top of my head was an inch or two short of Taliesin's ceiling, and in one case, I had to bend down to avoid hitting the ceiling. Our guide mentioned in passing that one of Wright's son-in-laws, who lived there a while, was 6 foot 5 inches tall or so.

Another oddity was that some of the doorknobs were about two feet higher than standard level -- at about mid-chest for someone like me. One of the other members of the tour group asked about them. The guide said that no one was quite sure about that, but perhaps he wanted to discourage children from entering or leaving the building.

Not only did FLW not believe in lightning rods, he had no use for gutters. The effect during rain, which I saw, was that water pours off the roof straight down. Maybe he liked that effect, or didn't like the way gutters looked. I'm no building expert, but I suspect that in the long run, that kind of water flow can't be good for the structure.

Taliesin also contains some chairs that Wright designed for the Johnson Wax HQ. We were warned not to sit in them. "If you sit exactly right, and are careful in getting up, they're fine," the guide said. "But if you move too much from side to side, they can tip over." She added that Wright himself preferred to lounge in chairs from "Marshall Field."


At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read somewhere - I can't recall where, just now - that FLW's works make the most sense if they're regarded as sculpture rather than architecture. ANK


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