Frank Lloyd Wright spire in Scottsdale

In Scottsdale, Arizona stands the Taliesin West Promenade Spire, otherwise known as the Frank Lloyd Wright Spire. Oddly enough it was snatched from Wright’s 1957 proposal for the Arizona state capitol building. Somehow I don’t think Wright intended for random architectural elements to be pulled from his designs and just plopped at the end of shopping mall parking lot.

Vivien Liu made a 3d animated rendering of Wright’s “Pro Bono Publico” proposal.

It seems public officials in Arizona realized how boneheaded they were in 1957 by rejecting this brilliant proposal that they felt they’d make up for it by simply building just the spire. Uh ok. At least it’s neat to see SOMETHING done. But imagine the enormous amount of tourism and recognition Arizona would have received if they were ballsy enough to build the thing. Woulda coulda shoulda.

Aside from the incredibly silly appropriation of Wright’s architectural design, the structure itself speaks to Wright’s dedication to enveloping his designs into their environment. The Taliesin West Promenade Spire seems to take its form from Scottsdale’s vegetation. Think cactus and the agave plant.

photo courtesy of azglenn of Flickr via Creative Commons license.
More photos of the spire can be seen on Flickr here. (It glows at night, too).

Oh yea, here’s what Arizona built for their capitol building instead.

I found out about the FLW spire from the designslinger blog. One of the best, if not the best, Chicago blogs.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mark R
Mark R
14 years ago

That looks incredibly tacky. I can’t believe that FLW allowed them to build this.

I just read an article on FLW in Smithsonian magazine. Innovative architect, but not so nice human being.

Did you know that an employee of his locked some of his family members in a room of his house (I think it was Taliesin) and set it in fire. Multiple deaths. Crazy.

Matt Maldre
14 years ago

Do you think Wright would want it in those colors? I feel 1990 has come back and hit me in the head.

Is there a giant He-Man or Skeletor sculpture in Scottsdale? Cuz they could really use that huge sword.

The “i’m not saying anything, but i’m just sayin'” reminds me of this guy on the Michigan Avenue bridge who EVERY night will ask me and other people, “May I axe you a question?” And when you ignore him he says, “I’m JUST AXIN!”