Journey to Taliesin
D Wright House
Price Sr House
1st Christ. Chrch
Built in 1951 in Arcadia and designed
apparently as part of a Frank Lloyd Wright magazine story circa 1948 on how
to live in the desert southwest, the 2,200 square foot home (there is also a
guest house built toward the rear of the property) sitting on two acres of
land is also of a circular style, with the living quarters and entrance --
arrived at by following a winding ramp -- elevated to the second level.
(Wright's idea here was that by elevating the living space, one could take
advantage of the desert breezes...) There is another spiral ramp
leading to a rooftop deck above the kitchen where one can avail oneself the great views of Camelback Mountain. Both the circular design and
the spiral ramps are features Wright also used in his design of the
Guggenheim Museum, completed in 1959; Wright died before the museum was
Interestingly, David Wright was a sales rep
for a concrete block company; the house his father designed for him is built
with curved concrete block, as opposed to the wood that father Frank had
envisioned. It does have wooden soffits and window frames and the roof
is metal. Philippine mahogany was used for the ceilings, woodwork,
cabinets and furniture. The floor is concrete, but the master designed
a beautiful rug to cover it.
Some have said that the home is "ugly",
although we all know that beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder.
Beauty for Frank Lloyd Wright was in his philosophy of organic architecture
and how a structure needed to be in harmony with nature. The home that
is tucked away amongst the aging citrus groves seems to not fit with the
surrounding modern homes that have been constructed since 1951; any lack of
harmony has obviously occurred since that time, as square homes have been
built around the circle.
Son David and his wife lived in the home
until his death in 1997 at 102 years of age and his widow, Gladys, passed
away in 2008 at 104, outliving their only son, who died at 49 years of age.
David and Gladys were the only owners of the home and lived in it their
entire lives. Not long thereafter, Wright heirs offered the home for
sale for $3.9 million (in August of 2008); it was apparently sold for
cash in June of 2009 for $2.8 million by a Limited Partnership with plans to
restore the nearly 60-year old home to its original condition -- likely at
great cost. When we viewed the home, it was from the street. An
8-foot high chain-link fence surrounded the property keeping cameras, the
curious and inquisitive away, and it appeared as if no one occupied it.
It seemed almost an ignominious end to the
son of a legend, the house that stands almost freakishly, alone against a
neighborhood of encroaching modern misfits. Quoting from a March 2009
article by Jaimee Rose (www.AZCentral.com):
"This is the home of a family - a normal family with memories both happy
and hard that lived in a famous house with a famous name on the mailbox and
a famous patriarch that made the world more lovely but family life tough."
We got back into our car and drove silently away. It was a long ways
down the road before either of us wished to discuss the home and its