Tripping Across the U.S.A. travel blog

Hillside, Frank Lloyd Wright's School of Architecture

Frank Lloyd Wright's Home

Wright's Home

Backyard View, Wright's

Wright's Barn

Japanese Garden, Alex Jordan's

Infinity Room

Infinity Room

Music Machine

Plane Collection

Doll Carousel

One of many wierd sculptures at Alex Jordan's

Distant view, Infinity Room

We wore ourselves out walking, today, two hours at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin, his home and school of architecture, and three hours wandering through the vast maze of rooms and hallways at Alex Jordan's House on the Rock.

Frank LLoyd Wright's buildings are always artistic masterpieces on the exterior and fit their sites beautifully. He had many innovative ideas, especially for his time, placing windows so that their views became art, no drapes or curtains because views should be unobstructed, making the interior spaces flow into the outdoor spaces, (no door sills) including north lit clerestories so that the rooms would be lit primarily by daylight, using angled walls and natural, rough materials to improve accoustics, designing furnishings as part of the project. Really amazing creativity. However, as a housewife, I shudder when I think of cleaning all those rough surfaces where cobwebs and dust would gather and dragging a vacuum up and down the many levels of a structure that follows its site levels, not to mention sweeping the dust, water and critters that would slip under the doors with no sills. Then there were the low ceilings, particularly in entryways and transitional spaces where anyone tall would have to duck all the time or risk bumping their heads. Wright was a small man so he didn't worry about low ceiling height, and liked to draw people into his primary spaces by having these low ceilinged areas open up into vaulted ceiling living spaces. I do enjoy looking at his buildings, though.

Alex Jordan's House on the Rock was not at all what we expected. We thought we would be seeing a home using some of Frank Lloyd Wright's ideas. Instead, what we found was museum of rambling corridors and interconnecting chambers all dark with spotlit collections of everything, huge carousels, all kinds of music machines that he designed, big and small; anything that you can think of that was ever made was there. It was overwhelming! And within a short time, all we could think of was "How do we get out of here?" Unfortunately, we just had to keep going until we reached the end. It took 3 hours, I decided early on that this man must have been bipolar with obsessive compulsive tendancies and in a total manic state for the entire 25 years he worked on this place. It started out as a spot on an enornmous rock on which to picnic. He bought it and started to build on and around it and never stopped. The rock is no longer visible. One room did impress me, the Infinity Room, built like an enormous spearhead and cantilevered out over the valley so that it provided a panoramic view, and there was a small japanese style garden that was a pleasure to look at. Otherwise, while the experience was novel, I would not call it pleasurable. We thankfully collapsed in our motel room after that.

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