aesthetics

Radiant Brow

When Frank Lloyd Wright moved to Scottsdale, Arizona to build Taliesin West, there was nothing. It was the 1930s, and Phoenix was just an idea of a city. The outlying areas were deserts. There wasn’t power in Scottsdale, and when FLW first checked out the sight, he camped out. He was in his 70s.

While he was building Taliesin, FLW used to watch the western sunset every night. Phoenix and Scottsdale being so small, there was nothing to obstruct his view of the sun fading into the mountains.

But we all know what happened to the American West. Air conditioners were invented, the fact there wasn’t a natural source of water proved not to be a problem, and eventually, power came to Scottsdale.

Of course, power lines would ruin FLW’s sunset. So he petitioned the government to let him build underground ones. No dice: his designs would be too expensive. (And let’s face it, if FLW made the power lines, somehow they would leak.) And so big, bulky power lines were put up, and Frank Lloyd Wright never took in another western sunset again. And he was so angry that power lines destroyed his sunset he didn’t get electricity at Taliesin for several years.

Frank Lloyd Wright chose aesthetics above everything else. And while I wouldn’t make that same choice—I’d get power as soon as it was available—you have to admire someone who knows where his priorities are.