Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix donated to Taliesin architecture school

A house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his son has become part of the architecture school founded by the American architect 85 years ago.

The David and Gladys Wright House was built in the Arcadia neighbourhood of Phoenix, Arizona, in 1952. The building has now been donated to the School of Architecture at Taliesin – ending years of speculation about its fate.

The spiral-plan property’s owner Zach Rawling announced the pledge yesterday, 8 June 2017, which would have been Wright’s 150th birthday.

“The gift of the David Wright House to benefit the school will expand the school’s footprint into the heart of Phoenix, and celebrate the legacy of the David Wright House as an instructive environment for the experience and learning of architecture,” reads a joint statement from Rawling and School of Architecture at Taliesin dean Aaron Betsky.

The David and Gladys Wright House was commissioned in 1950 by Wright’s son and daughter-in-law. Built from concrete blocks, its elevated curving form is accessed via a spiralling ramp that continues up onto the roof.

The structure remained a family home until 2008, but was then left abandoned. Developers threatened to demolish the building in 2012, but Rawling stepped in and bought the property with plans to turn it into a museum.

This idea was met with strong opposition from neighbouring residents, who didn’t want visitors spoiling one of Phoenix’s most exclusive addresses, but wider community support to preserve the building was backed by the city.

Now, the house will be “formally gifted to a new supporting organisation of the Arizona Community Foundation for the benefit of the School of Architecture at Taliesin”.

The donation is subject to the raising of $7 million (£5.4 million) in endowment funds by 31 December 2020.

“The new organisation will own the house and manage the endowment for the benefit of the school, while the school will operate the property, educational curriculum and all community and cultural activities,” said Rawling and Betsky.

Known until recently as the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, the school was founded in 1932 as an apprenticeship for a small number of students to learn from the architect. It currently offers an accredited Master of Architecture graduate programme based on Wright’s architectural principles.

Today’s teaching is split across the campuses at Taliesin, Wisconsin, and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona – both designed by Wright.

The David and Gladys Wright House will provide a further educational facility for the school.

Wright’s 150th anniversary is being celebrated with events across his buildings in the US, and a retrospective exhibition of his drawings and models at New York’s MoMA.

Dezeen is commemorating the occasion by spotlighting some of the architect’s key projects, including his Fallingwater house, Robie House, Hollyhock House and Taliesin West.

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