Two new courses: Getting to know Frank L. Wright and Taliesin


Horizontal lines, huge windows and open interiors are the hallmarks of Wisconsin’s famous resident, architect Frank Lloyd Wright. He was a man of his own spirit, refusing to go along with the architectural tide of his times—colorful Victorian houses decorated with gingerbread trim.

After reading a few quotes from Wright, one easily gets a flavor for his colorful personality and individualistic philosophy:

“A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.”

“Television is chewing gum for the eyes.”

“An architect’s most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board, and a wrecking bar at the site.”

In Madison, Wright is known for the Monona Terrace Convention Center, several other characteristic buildings, his early life in nearby Spring Green, and three semesters spent on the UW campus studying engineering.

To help the community learn more about this renowned local figure, UW Continuing Studies will offer two programs in April about this artistic genius and his well-known home.

A three-evening course, The Rise and Fall of Taliesin I, will focus on the home which spanned 37,000 square feet including kitchen garden, orchard, studio, guest apartments and working farm. The class will meet April 4-18, 2013 from 7:30-8:45 p.m. at the Pyle Center.

Construction of Taliesin

Author of the new book, Building Taliesin: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home of Love and Loss, Ron McCrea, former city editor of The Capital Times, will tell the story of the construction of the home, which was lovingly perched on the brow of a hill known by Wright since his childhood.

McCrea will use memoirs and a trove of unpublished photos to describe the planning and the construction of the home along with the two fires that destroyed the masterful work. He will finish with Wright’s continued rebuilding of the residence until his death in 1959.

The second course, offered later in April, features a personal recollection of Wright in the two-session course, Taliesin Diary: My Parents and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Life at Taliesin

On Thursdays, April 25 and May 2, 2013 from 7:30-8:45 p.m. at the Pyle Center, an emeritus UW-Madison professor whose parents were part of the Taliesin Fellowship in the years of 1942-43 will discuss the activities and events as described in her mother’s diary. Emeritus professor Mariamne Whatley will lead the class based on the published diary.