Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin: Take a photo tour of an architectural gem

in photography •  2 years ago

[11MB of photos]
Last summer I made it out to Spring Green, Wisconsin to pay a visit to a legendary property built by a legendary man. Taliesin was architect Frank Lloyd Wright's summer home, studio, and apprenticeship school for many years. Over his lifetime, he designed every structure on the property including a schoolhouse, home, architectural studio, theater, gardens, barns, and a windmill. On to the photos!

Riverview Terrace Restaurant

When arriving to take a tour, you show up here. It was originally built as the Riverview Terrace Restaurant to wine and dine the wealthier from Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and further out. The idea was to invite people to the studio and get them to commission designs from Wright and his Fellowship. It's now the visitor center, gift shop, and restaurant.

There are several tours to choose from depending on budget and time. I took the Highlights tour, which is a two hour tour of the Hillside Studio & Theater, and the Taliesin house with its garden.

Hop on the bus, and on the way you can see the barn designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. He wanted the property to be a living farm as well as studio and home.

It's still worked as a farm and vineyard.

Outside you get a good sense of why Frank Lloyd Wright chose this place, already familiar to him, as a home.

Hillside Home School & Studio

And then you arrive and get off the bus in front of the Hillside Home School

When the Hillside School was built, you didn't park your car. You tied up your horses.

Inside is an open room with windows on two sides and a hearth on another. The inscribed words are from a poem by Thomas Gray called "Elegy Written in a Country Graveyard":

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; How jocund did they drive their team afield! How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Above the fireplace is a fantastic futuristic design.

On another side is a balcony overlooking a nicely furnished dining room.

And windows with planters and benches in front of them.

Statues occupy corners.

A small skyway was built to connect the school to the architecture studio. You can see the white scale model of a wide skyscraper in the center.

The studio is still a work space for architectural students. While you are allowed to look, photographs aren't allowed in that part. Just past it is a small room with several artifacts. I don't remember the original purpose of it, but it had an architectural feature meant to resemble a boat. It also shows the vaulted ceilings with skylights, also above the studio.

Some cards showcasing print and typeface design.

A scale model of an ambitious design for what eventually became a scaled-down Monona Terrace in Madison, WI.


Heading outside to the theater building, a detail of a large planting pot caught my attention. FLLW liked and studied Asian cultural aesthetics a lot.

Frank designed this windmill, called Romeo and Juliet. Romeo is meant to be the taller diamond-shaped half, with Juliet being the octagon.

In the theater.

Just the curtain is a work of art, and had a lot of thought and design put into it. It is an abstract representation of the Taliesin estate surrounding it. The black bar is the Wisconsin River.

Part of "Song of the Open Road" by Walt Whitman is painted onto the right wall.

This prairie style vertical chandelier was probably the largest. Also real easy to bump into if you were climbing to or from the nosebleed seats!


After leaving the theater, you hop back on the bus to visit the Taliesin home. Here is the balcony side of it, shot from the bus.

Going around the backside of it, two Asian protector statues stand guard on both ends of an overlook and driveway, in front of the garages.

I couldn't tell if it was built this way or slowly tipped over time, but it was puzzling enough that I took a photo.

This dragon on a pot grabbed my attention.

Frank's office

His chair at his office desk.

Displayed near his desk is a sketch he made as a logo for the town of Spring Green, where Taliesin is.

Above the hearth is a portrait of his mother.

Where the magic happened.

His drafting tables are situated right next to the large windows that overlook the magnificent garden outside.

Behind his office is a long and narrow reading room and shelf area. Towards the back is another fireplace.

A large and hefty-looking safe.

About across from the safe is a small window into the garden with a very cool art-deco statue sitting there.

Then we pop outside to the wonderful and cozy garden.

Lovely little details are everywhere.

Living room

Any good living room needs a fireplace, but this one was surprisingly small to me for a living room.

Above and to the left of the previous photo, nice ledges to put some cool stuff on.

To the left of that is a black mirrored table, masterfully designed chairs, and a signature lamp.

A four-person music stand. The chairs were built from repurposed advertising boards from a trade show I believe. Lifting the cushions reveals the heritage.

On a table sits a bust of the man himself.

There is a bridge to nowhere that can be walked on. Public tours are not allowed though. Next to it is this nicely lit reading bench.

Outside, on the balcony. To the left is a guest bedroom and loggia.

Loggia and bedrooms

It wasn't just Asian art and aesthetics he studied. I think this is from the American hemisphere. It kind of reminds me of Cornfed from Duckman.

The furniture pieces throughout have all kinds of different designs.

View from Mrs. Wright's bedroom window. The tour guide explained how the windows were designed as if they were musical.

Frank's cozy sleeping space.

Past his bedroom is a terrace with a vista to the left and a nice small garden to the right.

Buddha in the garden.

Finally, leaving the property in the bus, you get a view of a waterfall built near the road.

I'll end the post with his signature tile, placed between the garden, his office, and the living room. I hope you've enjoyed this tour and I'm glad I've finally shared it! If you want to know more or visit Taliesin, visit

#pfunkphotos - #pfunkblog

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Just found your blog through pappapepper and he's good and so are you. Frank Lloyd Wright was a genius and you have introduced this through your story and photos so well that I felt I was there. As an English person I admire so much about American art in it's so many different forms, architecture being one of them and Mr Lloyd Wright had so many sides to his art and great taste. Well done you for sharing this. JV


Thank you for your comment :)

Thank you, @pfunk, for this lovely and comprehensive tour.

It is interesting to me to see the mix of Christian symbolism and oriental influences. Also intriguing to observe the obvious wear on furniture and various appointments.

I wonder how Wright would have done with CAD software and modern tools? Whether his productivity might have been enhanced, or his style somehow changed?

I've always enjoyed this song:





Do you mean the cross-carrying priest statue? That was kind of an outlier. Most other objects were Asian, art-deco, or prairie school.

Good question about the CAD. He would have excelled in the early days of it for sure. Ever notice how buildings made in the 80s look like they are from early 3D games? Funny how software shaped our landscape back then.


More modern software suites would astonish him. Chief Architect and especially Revit come to mind.


"Do you mean the cross-carrying priest statue?"

Yes, that's one. Also, over the fireplace, there are carvings of a couple of texts from scripture. There was another statue that I took as possibly a madonna figure.

Kids today playing Minecraft may be the architects of tomorrow... ;)

AAHHHH Ive been only dreaming of walking around on one of his designs. There currently is an untouched Lloyd building for sale that I can only dream of owning. This tour is really eye opening. THAT LAMP THO! wow..just wow.


For sale? Look for an open house :)


sadly its took far away from me...BUT maybe with enough Steem WE ALL should invest in buying it as a communal STEEMIAN house?! Ha:)

thank you for detailed photos, @pfunk! this Frank Lloyd Wright's house is a real masterpiece. I saw one house made by Wright, in Barcelona, but only outside view.


You are welcome man! There are a couple Wright houses in Minneapolis, and then at least one that I know of in the suburbs. One house in a suburb was up for sale, last I heard. But I've only seen them from the outside too. There are many in the Chicago area that can be toured though.


lucky you! we have some Corbusier's buildings in Moscow, and other constructivists', but not many.

Fascinating! About two years ago I passed by the property while I was on a road trip in Wisconsin. I wish we had been able to stop for a tour. Your post motivates me to plan a trip to check it out!

Thanks for your welcome on my #introduceyourself post. It led me to your blog and I'm following you now that I see we have common interests. Happy New Year!


Cool, thanks for your comment :)

Visiting there does mean a commitment of at least like 3 hours. And knowing what's in Wisconsin (especially when you're trying to get to Milwaukee or Chicago) that's a big commitment to spend time in what is otherwise the middle of nowhere. Ok, the House on the Rock is down the road, but that's a whole different trip.


I did check out the House on the Rock and waaaaaay underestimated the time it would take to fully experience the place. We didn't make it through all the sections. Who knew rural WI had such random architectural gems?


Haha yeah, the House on the Rock can easily suck up a day. It just never ends.

Congratulations @pfunk!
Your post was mentioned in my hit parade in the following categories:

  • Upvotes - Ranked 3 with 467 upvotes
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Simply wow! Very nice photography displaying architectural beauty. Must've been an awesome experience. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.


Thank you for taking the time to view them and comment :) And thanks for the compliment. It was pretty darn cool to see.

I'm a big fan of Wisconsin The Dairy State so I really warmed to this post @pfunk - many others have rightly too. I don't normally leave the minnows, but this has been an excellent outing to the @pfunk timeline :) Thanks buddy! UV/RS :))


Thank you very much man. I appreciate that!


Enjoy the bumper pay day @pfunk from the second coming of Bitcoin! A $25B inflow in 30 days to all cryptos! Holy crap!! :))


It's rather hard to believe but wonderful.


It's been such a great ride on this new clean slate blockchain technology. We can take it anywhere we want :)

That's a lot of beautiful imagery, thanks for sharing!


Thank you and thank you for viewing.

Nice post and beautiful pictures. I just love the stone!


Thank you @team101. Frank seemed to love the stone quite a bit too, and I think it makes for a very nice earthy balance to the otherwise abstract lines of his creation. IIRC all of the stone was quarried locally as well.

A far better showcase of his design genius than Fallingwater in my opinion! Good photos throughout! Resteemed and upvoted.


I haven't been to Falling Water but yeah, probably :P I've visited a few Frank Lloyd Wright and other Prairie School homes in my lifetime but this is a home of homes for sure.


I saw a real estate listing for one of his other homes a couple years back. A lot of his ideas were ahead of his time. His open floor plans for living spaces weren't really embraced widely until the past few decades.

I see the flagbots are at it again for you earning "too much." A shame. This is the kind of post we need to encourage. I'll add @goodguygreg's tiny upvote shortly as a symbolic counterbalance.


It wasn't a bot, I don't quite understand it myself.

That was a wonderful visual experience. I studied the history of art and architecture as a minor in college and Frank Lloyd write received a lot of focus!


Thanks for taking a look and the comment @kus-knee :)

What a craftsman, FLW took detail and mastery of materiality to new heights in the modern era. Amazing images @pfunk, thanks for sharing this.


You are welcome, and thank you @voronoi

As every good photographer should, you've successfully gotten out of the way of your subject matter instead of using it for self-promotion. I didn't read the category and assumed it was architecture or modern history or something. Well done.


Taking a selfie with this camera would produce mixed results. :P

Amazing pictures.



Beautiful pictures! Would love to visit this place and see it firsthand one day!


Thank you. It's definitely something to check out if you are nearby and appreciate art in architecture. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere though, so you have to really appreciate it to make a special trip from farther away. You can always go visit the House on the Rock attraction. Built, by no coincidence, near Taliesin, it's kind of like a NASCAR to Taliesin's Formula 1.

Really amazing place, and so many things to take pictures of! Looks like you could spend a few days walking around and discovering.


Yes. Two hours here just gets the surface, and doesn't cover everything either.

wow those drafting tables are awesome.


Yeah, they're huge and sturdy. The way they're placed almost makes me think the position is staged. I think if I were Frank I'd want more direct sunlight hitting the paper, and the tables would either be perpendicular to the windows or facing them.

Awesome job on this post @pfunk!


Thank you much man.

Amazing pictures @pfunk! Loved the picture-wise description approach. Inspiring and a very well maintained place.


Thank you for the compliments @isteemit :)

wow nice photos I really enjoy them, very interesting stuff and really nice places.

Absolutely beautiful, looks like you had a great time :)


Thanks! Yeah it was a good visit.

Thank you, I enjoyed virtually walking around with you. I enjoy FLW's work.


Glad you enjoyed, you're welcome!

I think next time you should start with a few picture that grab attention, it took me until picture #6 (the house) to feel some attention then down to this one

I found this one the best

A wider lens would have added a lot to the experience, I have no idea what this place is about (didn't read) but it feel chaotic.


Thank you for the feedback. It might feel chaotic because even though the tour is 2 hours, there's so much to see that there's little time to hang back and take photos :) I was shooting as wide as I could at 18mm on a Nikon DX sensor camera. The best photo gear is what you have when you're there. :P I'd love to go back one day with an even wider lens and no frantically paced tour schedule, believe me!

It's beautiful


It's one of the most artfully designed places I've ever been to, if not the most.

Great walk, my friend! Exciting design! I get satisfaction together with you !!


Thank you very much Olga, and thanks for the resteem :)

Damn, this is breathtaking!


Thank you @mukupuku, and welcome to Steem :)

This is a must to visit someday. I have toured his homes in Chicago. His life story is incredible. You ever hear about the fire at his Wisconsin home?


Yeah the tour guide talked about that tragic incident with the servant when we visited his office. I think it burned down twice actually.


Yep. Disgruntled servant during a party. Barricaded the house except for the front door, set it all on fire, then waited out front with an ax. Brutal.

OH MY GODS -- I was just thinking about the Holly Hock House today. These are beautiful images. I adore this creative man of houses :)

Thank you.

Mr Frank was a great Architech. I remember seeing my cousin do tours for some old buildings that were in my hometown. I am from Illinois so I never got to see this building, thanks for posting pictures so I can live vicariously through your experience.


Some of Frank's best work is in the Chicago area!

wonderful posting....^^


Thank you @abdullar

Congratulations dear friend @pfunk for your choice of trip you have chosen a beautiful place to visit, excellent captures the ones you have done, could not say which is the best image, thank you very much for sharing these beautiful photos


Thank you @jlufer

I miss your posts. But Happy Holidays ! And thank you for all you do for Steemit.

Waw nice post brother, i will upvote you're post and i will follow you @pfunk