Frank (ljtourist) wrote,
Frank
ljtourist

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PHX, part 3

Sunday was yet another early day, as we wanted to get in one more hike, and wanted to beat the heat as much as possible. We met up with Michael's friend from Saturday, and went to Papago Park, home of Hole-in-the-Rock. Took some nice long walks along a section of the extensive canal system that the whole area has. Got to see the automatic cleaning system in action, removing some branches and other litter from the canal. In short, it was a good time getting some fresh air, and seeing more of the desert.

The real draw of that day, though, was Taliesin West. Squee! I remain obsessed with Frank Lloyd Wright, and this was yet another of his masterpieces: gorgeous, organic, and site-appropriate design. In stark contrast to our experience at Arcosanti, the tour guide we had here was outstanding! He was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, pointing out lots of hidden detail, and really guiding us along. I loved all the roofs that were made of canvas, filtering the light just so. All the windows were set such that the best viewing angle was when you were seated (since that's where you spend most of your time in a room, right?). However, I still have not come across a single FLW chair design that I liked. I thought I'd found one at Fallingwater, but on that tour it turned out that that chair was designed by the owner's wife, since she didn't like his chairs either. One of the things that I learned on this trip was just how much FLW was into Asian art. This probably should have been much less of a shock than it was, given that the Asian aesthetic really resonates with me just as strongly as FLW's designs do.

I also learned that the architecture school is still going strong, carrying on the FLW tradition. That almost makes me want to buy a chunk of land so they can build me a house. If only there were a huge parcel available in the city limits for less than I'll make in a lifetime. Maybe a summer home... Something to think about, certainly.I also found out that there are several FLW houses that you can rent out and live in. DUDE! I must, must do this.

The one criticism I have of our tour guide was that he seemed to have drunk just a little too much of the Kool-Aid. He kept harping on bad designs as what you get if you let "science" do your design for you, that it should be artists doing it. And to an extent, I agree, but "science" is so the wrong word to use there. "Engineers", maybe. Certainly, engineers can come up with designs that don't focus on their user, and optimize instead for things like reproducibility, or ease of manufacture, but when you leave science out of it, you end up with Fallingwater, which is both stunningly gorgeous and eminently livable, but not what one could describe as "structurally sound".

After that, though, my vacation was at an end. A short trip back to pack, and then to the airport for an uneventful flight home. It was great seeing lots of Phoenix, Tempe, and environs, and especially seeing jkhedron again (very glad he's doing so well). Just what I wanted.
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