Preservation, Management, and Stabilization Approaches at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin: An Analysis of the Evolution of Intervention Strategies

Allison Semrad
Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in Wisconsin, is an eight-hundred acre estate situated in a rural, rolling landscape. The site is significant because of its architectural character, as a collection of representative works spanning Wright's entire career, as well as for its association with the Taliesin Fellowship, Wright's elaborate and well-documented model for teaching and living. Taliesin is currently open for tours and also houses a resident community made up of students,
more » ... r faculty, interns, and a few older members of the Fellowship, often referred to as Legacy Fellows. For preservationists and the site's caretakers, Taliesin's buildings pose a particularly thorny problem. Students and apprentices were responsible for much of Taliesin's construction, and Wisconsin's harsh climate often accelerates the material deterioration of wood details, structural elements, plaster, stucco, and cedar-shingle roofs. The research presented in this thesis lays out a chronology detailing how Taliesin has been managed and preserved since Frank Lloyd Wright's death in 1959. Between 1959 and the late 1980s, the Taliesin Fellowship managed the site, maintaining and altering the buildings for continued use. In 1991, a preservation non-profit was founded by recommendation of a Governor's Commission. This group, called Taliesin Preservation Commission, and later Taliesin Preservation Incorporated (TPC and TPI, respectively), was tasked with establishing a new public tour program and managing maintenance and preservation interventions on site. The second half of the thesis details three case studies areas that shed light on specific structural interventions, as a way to understand how these physical projects reflect the values of Taliesin's residents and caretakers. The case studies are: Mr. Wright's Bedroom Terrace, the Lower Court, and the combination of Mrs. Wright's Bedroom and the Gold Room. Each was stabilized multiple times through Taliesin's preservation history, calling into question the site's long peri [...]
doi:10.7916/d8zc8f1c fatcat:pwqc4v5h5fa2npwiqfcon36fju