Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fabled School of Architecture Will Abruptly Close After Training Rising Architects for Nearly 90 Years

The school will cease operations after failing to reach an agreement with the architect's foundation.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, his winter home and architectural school in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images.

The architecture school founded by Frank Lloyd Wright nearly 90 years ago to develop young talents in his image will close for good this summer.

Dan Schweiker, the board chair of the School of Architecture at Taliesinsaid the “gut-wrenching” decision was made after the board was unable to “reach an agreement with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to keep the school open.”

The foundation owns the two properties at Taliesin (in Spring Green, Wisconsin) and Taliesin West (in Scottsdale, Arizona) out of which the school operates.

“This is a sad and somber day for our school, our students and staff, and the architecture community,” Schweiker added. “We did everything possible to fight for its survival but due to other forces it was not meant to be.”

The current semester will be the school’s last before it officially ceases operations in June. The institution is now in discussions with the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University to work out a plan to transfer the 30 students currently enrolled at Taliesin so they may complete their degrees.

In a statement issued to Architect magazine, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation said the boards of the two organizations had been in talks to develop a business plan to keep the struggling school afloat through July, 2021.

“The foundation had reached an agreement with the leaders of the [school’s] board that would have allowed for second- and third-year students to complete their education at Taliesin and Taliesin West, and we are disappointed that it was not approved by the full [school] board,” the Wright foundation’s president and CEO, Stuart Graff, said in the statement.

Wright founded the school in 1932, and taught there until his death in 1959. In 2017, the school, which was formerly called the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, was renamed after it split from the architect’s foundation owing to a decision by the Higher Learning Commission that accredited schools could no longer be financially dependent on separate organizations

“In an age of so much turbulence, this school and its students provided so much peace,” said Jacki Lynn, a school board member. “It breaks my heart that all the parties could not come together to ensure the proper legacy of this great American.” 

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics