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Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Airdate: March 15, 2017
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation exists to preserve Taliesin and Taliesin West, and to contribute to society an understanding of the famous architect’s ideas and designs. The foundation has new leadership with a new vision. Hear from new Frank Lloyd Wright president and CEO Stuart Graff and new preservation architect Victor Sidy.

Guests:
  • Stuart Graff - Frank Lloyd Wright president and CEO Victor Sidy - Preservation architect
Category: Culture

Keywords: architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright,

View Transcript
TED SIMONS: THE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION EXISTS TO PRESERVE TALIESIN AND TALIESIN WEST, AND TO PROMOTE THE ICONIC ARCHITECT'S IDEAS AND DESIGNS. THE FOUNDATION HAS NEW LEADERSHIP AND WITH THAT LEADERSHIP COMES A NEW VISION. STUART GRAFF IS THE NEW FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION PRESIDENT AND CEO, AND ALSO WITH US IS PRESERVATION ARCHITECT, VICTOR SIDY. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

STUART GRAFF: THANKS FOR HAVING US.

TED SIMONS: GIVE US A BETTER DEFINITION

STUART GRAFF: THE WRIGHT FOUNDATION WAS FOUNDED BY MR. WRIGHT AFTER HIS PASSING IN 1959. IT PROMOTES HIS IDEAS, ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN. HE SAW A VISION OF THE WORLD INCLUDING ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE COMING TOGETHER AND ORGANICALLY INTEGRATING THE DESIGNED ENVIRONMENT, THE THINGS WE BUILD ALONG WITH THE NATURAL WORLD AROUND US. WE TRY TO PROMOTE THAT. SECOND PIECE OF WHAT HE ASKED US TO DO WAS PERPETUATE HIS APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM, THE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE.

TED SIMONS: THE SCHOOL SEPARATED FROM THE FOUNDATION, RIGHT?

STUART GRAFF: IT WILL BE SEPARATED THIS YEAR. THIS PAST WEEK WE RECEIVED A LETTER OF APPROVAL FROM THE ACCREDITING BODY SO WE ARE ESTABLISHING THE SEPARATION.

TED SIMONS: THEY WERE IN DANGER OF LOSING ACCREDITATION BUT IT'S SETTLED AND ALL SYSTEMS ARE GO?

STUART GRAFF: ALL SYSTEMS ARE GO.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS PRESERVATION, THE DAVID WRIGHT HOUSE, IS THAT THE ONE IN ARCADIA THAT HAS EVERYONE IN A HUFF?

VICTOR SIDY: IT SURE IS.

TED SIMONS: TELL US ABOUT IT AND WHY PEOPLE ARE UPSET ABOUT IT?

VICTOR SIDY: IT WAS HIDDEN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND ONLY A FEW YEARS AGO WAS OPEN. WHEN YOU OPEN SOMETHING SO TIGHTLY KEPT A SECRET, IT CREATES ACTIVITY UNKNOWN TO THE NEIGHBORS BEFORE. WE ARE IN THE PROCESS NOW OF WORKING WITH THE NEIGHBORS TO FIND A SUITABLE SOLUTION TO ALLOWING THE BUILDING TO HAVE OPEN DOORS AND ALSO NOT DISTURBING THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

TED SIMONS: RIGHT NOW THERE ARE NO TOURS, THERE ARE NO THIRD PARTY EVENTS, CORRECT?

VICTOR SIDY: CORRECT.

TED SIMONS: WILL THAT CHANGE?

VICTOR SIDY: WE HOPE TO GO THROUGH THE PROCESS OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITH THE CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR TO GET THE BUILDING OPEN TO THE PUBLIC IN A WAY IT CAN BE, I THINK, A RIGHTFUL PLACE POINT OF PRIDE FOR THE CITY OF PHOENIX AND ARIZONA.

TED SIMONS: AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T UPSET THE NEIGHBORS. THEY LIVE THERE. THEY HAVE A VOICE IN THIS.

VICTOR SIDY: CORRECT. THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME AN ARCHITECTURAL TREASURE IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO PEOPLE'S HOMES IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. WE ARE LOOKING AT WHAT BEST PRACTICES ARE TO RESOLVE THAT ISSUE.

TED SIMONS: YOU MENTIONED WRIGHT'S IDES, ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN, VISION. GIVE US THE 30,000-FOOT VIEW OF THAT.

STUART GRAFF: FRANK LLOYD -- AT THE TIME HE BEGAN WORKING IN THE LATE 19TH CENTURY, THE HOUSE WAS A BOX WITH LOTS OF LITTLE BOXES INSIDE. IF YOU THINK OF VICTORIAN ARCHITECTURE, IT'S LOTS OF LITTLE BOXES INSIDE. HE BROKE THE BOX. THE STRUCTURES COULD BE HORIZONTAL OR ANGLER. INSIDE, YOU HAVE THESE VAST OPEN EXPANSES, AND YOU COULD OPEN THE INTERIOR TO EXTERIOR SPACE. MANY PEOPLE THINK OF RIBBON WINDOWS AS A CHARACTERISTIC OF HIS WORK. HE CALLED IT ORGANIC ARCHITECTURE BETWEEN THE INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR, NATURAL AND HUMAN-MADE. HIS IDEAS WE TODAY WOULD CALL SUSTAINABILITY, NATURAL LIGHTING WHENEVER POSSIBLE. TRANSPARENCY AND USING NATURAL CURRENTS TO COOL AND HEAT HOUSES, MAKING HOUSES FIREPROOF IN INTERESTING WAYS. HE WAS EXPLORING NEW MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES AND DESIGNS. IN FACT, TALIESIN WEST, HERE IN SCOTTSDALE, WAS ESTABLISHED TO BE A DESERT LABORATORY, CONSTANTLY CHANGING, EVOLVING AND PART OF THE NEW USE IS AS A PRESERVATION TODAY.

TED SIMONS: AS A PRESERVATION ARCHITECT, THOUGH, YOU’RE NOT JUST PRESERVING A MID-CENTURY MODERN HOME OUT IN THE TRACT SOMEWHERE. WHAT ARE CHALLENGES WHEN IT COMES TO A WRIGHT HOUSE?

VICTOR SIDY: THE DAVID WRIGHT HOUSE IN ARCADIA IS A PLACE KNOWN AS A PLACE OF CITRUS GROVES. THAT'S CHANGING. IT CAN EMBODY THE QUALITIES IN A WAY ALMOST NO OTHER PROPERTY CAN. WE ARE LOOKING TO REPLANT THE CITRUS GROVES SO THE HOUSE HAS A CONTEXT INDICATIVE OF THE WAY THE HOUSE USED TO BE. THE HOUSE ITSELF IS IN RELATIVELY GOOD CONDITION. IT'S A CONCRETE BUILDING WITH GLASS AND STEEL AND WOOD. WE ARE LOOKING AT BRINGING THE HOUSE TO, NOT NECESSARILY A BUILDING PRESERVED IN AMBER, BUT A BUILDING THAT CAN CONSERVE A LIFE THAT EMBODY'S FRANK WRIGHT'S IDEA OF LIVING ARCHITECTURE, ORGANIC ARCHITECTURE AND NEAR THE END OF HIS LIFE, A LIVING ARCHITECTURE, A PLACE WHERE MEMORIES CAN BE MADE, THAT WELCOMES NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATIONS. WE ARE LOOKING AT PARTNERING WITH A NUMBER OF ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN THE CITY AND STATE TO ALLOW THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF WRIGHT'S WORK, THE POETRY HE CREATES IN THE DESERT TO STAND STRONG.

TED SIMONS: WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME. THE LAST QUESTION, REGARDING THE FOUNDATION, THE GOAL, THE VISION, A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THE FOUNDATION EXISTS. CAN THE FOUNDATION TELL ITS STORY BETTER?

STUART GRAFF: SURE. I HAVE BEEN REACHING OUT TO THE COMMUNITY, TALKING WITH COMMUNITY LEADERS, UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE WE CAN PLAY WITHIN THE PHOENIX COMMUNITY AND CITY OF SCOTTSDALE AND MAKE OURSELVES A RESOURCE TO THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY, NOT JUST THE DESTINATION YOU COME TO ONCE AND NEVER BACK, BUT A PLACE YOU COME TO FREQUENTLY.

TED SIMONS: CONGRATULATIONS ON THE POSITION AND GOOD LUCK WITH THE ALWAYS NEW DAVID WRIGHT HOUSE. SOMETHING IS ALWAYS HAPPENING THERE

STUART GRAFF/ VICTOR SIDY: THANK YOU SO MUCH.

TED SIMONS: THURSDAY ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," IT'S A SPECIAL "IN-FOCUS" EDITION, AS WE TALK ONE-ON-ON WITH ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS PRESIDENT AND CEO DERRICK HALL ABOUT THE TEAM, HIS LIFE AND MORE. IN-FOCUS WITH DERRICK HALL, THAT'S AT 5:30 ON THE NEXT "ARIZONA HORIZON." THAT IS IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.