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Frank Lloyd Wright Sites for Groups

Frank Lloyd Wright’s mother had a premonition that her son was destined to become an architect. She decorated his nursery with pictures of English cathedrals and gave him educational blocks to start his building projects early.

The push helped inspire Wright to become one of the most famous architects of all time. Visits to some of his creations thrill both those who know  architecture and novices just learning to appreciate Wright’s skill.

Groups can explore Wright sites that are open to the public across the country, from his personal desert studio to an iconic summer home perched atop a waterfall. Tours highlight Wright’s use of organic architecture, a movement he pioneered that seeks to harmonize a building with its environment.

Whether members of a group have an understanding of the importance of Wright’s architectural contributions or have only vaguely heard of him, all will enjoy discovering his ingenious creations firsthand.


—  Taliesin West  —

Scottsdale, Arizona

“Oh, we have to build here. This is pure abstraction wherever you look,” said Wright when he first beheld the spot where he would construct Taliesin West. Wright began building his personal winter home and studio in Scottsdale after being advised by a doctor to live in the warmer climate for his health.

The resulting National Historic Landmark was completed in 1959. Wright sought to integrate the indoor spaces of the building with the Sonoran desert and the foothills of the McDowell Mountains outside.

“It is a really dramatic entry to the building,” said Evan Lowry, group tour and marketing manager. “People coming in will look at the building and think, ‘Is it part of the mountain or part of the building?’ That is because it is built into the mountains from the local materials.”

Groups can take the 90-minute Insights Tour, the one-hour Panoramic Tour or the two-hour Night Lights Tour. All tours start at Wright’s office, where guests can see the desk he used when he met clients. Expert guides draw visitors’ attention to the notable Chinese ceramics, the drawing vault and his use of angles to create a more open and acoustic space.

“He was a master of angles, shadows and light,” said Lowry, “so you are going to see that throughout his buildings.”

Many groups opt to take the in-depth Insights tour because it explores the Garden Room, which Wright used for entertaining, with its striking furnishings, such as his origami chairs.

During the Night Lights Tour, groups see Taliesin West aglow in the evening light and the spectacle of Wright’s sculpture of a fire-breathing dragon.


—  Guggenheim Museum  —

New York City

Ask staff members about the distinctiveness of the Guggenheim Museum’s building, and their enthusiasm will convince you immediately that this is a Wright site worth seeing.

“The Guggenheim is really a shrine to art,” said Emily Johnson, senior manager for group sales. “With every new exhibit, you are experiencing the building again. It is one of the most dynamic and fluid buildings.”

“It continues to baffle and surprise people 40 years after it was built,” said Maria Celi, managing director of visitor services. “I’ve worked here for 10 years, and I’m still impressed. Can you tell we really love it?”

Wright’s only museum and one of his last works, the Guggenheim Museum houses a renowned art collection that ranges from Impressionism to contemporary art. Groups have a number of tours from which to choose, including the Guggenheim Museum Highlights and Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture tours.

Guests will marvel at the 1959 museum’s atrium, oculus skylight and triangular staircases, which in beauty rival the art housed there. Light entering the building changes the look of the room throughout the day, giving the building an organic feel despite its location in the city.

After touring the building and examining the art collections, guests can dine at The Wright, an upscale restaurant, or at the sandwich bar Cafe 3. For a hands-on experience, groups can choose from one of the museum’s workshops, where participants create art projects.