A journey to Scottsdale, Arizona, from November 12-15, brings you to the works of Frank Lloyd Wright. From his first Arizona commission, the Biltmore Hotel, to his masterpiece Taliesin West, you'll gain a more intimate insight to his love of the desert and organic architecture. Take a ride on the modern side as we explore some of Scottsdale, Arizona's modern architecture, including the Hotel Valley Ho.
Hotel Valley Ho is one of the only mid-century modern resorts built in the 1950s that is still standing today and will serve as our accommodations during our visit. Architect Ed Varney was undoubtedly ahead of his time. He created underground tunnels to hold all of the electrical wiring, plumbing and mechanical fixtures, provided sub-structuring to the hotel to support a future, seven-story tower that wasn’t even built until 2008, and installing air-conditioning, making Valley Ho the first resort open year-round in the Valley of the Sun. You’ll have a chance to learn more about the hotel’s architecture and history during our private tour.
In the late afternoon we’ll walk over to the Western Spirit: Museum of the West for an architecture and art tour. The museum opened to the public on January 15, 2015, on the site of the historic Loloma Transit Station designed by noted architect Vito Acconci. The museum has preserved elements of the station’s classic design, now repurposed as administrative offices and an education center, and added a new 43,000 square foot, two-story main building designed by the Phoenix and Clifton, New Jersey-based architectural firm of Studio MA.
We’ll enjoy dinner at the Hotel Valley Ho. Afterwards, explore Scottsdale on your own or partake in the Scottsdale ArtWalk – “America’s Original ArtWalk.”
The 40-year tradition of the Scottsdale ArtWalk takes place every Thursday evening from 7–9 pm in galleries along Main Street and Marshall Way in downtown Scottsdale. Once a week, the galleries extend their hours and show off the work of outstanding artists.
Meals included: Dinner
Our morning begins with a tour of the David and Gladys Wright House. Built in 1952 for Wright’s son and his wife, this 2,500 square foot concrete house is the only residential property based on a spiral design he employed in the Guggenheim.
Next we’ll visit the Harold Price Sr. House, nicknamed the Grandma House. Built in 1954 as a winter home for the Prices, it was designed to accommodate all the grandchildren who would come to visit. This space is spectacular. With a lofty ceiling two feet above the adjoining wings, almost floating, it provides interior shading but let’s in plenty of natural light with open clerestories creating a band of light around the perimeter and a skylight in the middle over a lovely fountain.
After our tour we’ll head over to the “Jewel of the Desert” – the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. At Frank and Albert’s, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and Albert Chase McArthur, you’ll enjoy local cuisine with legendary architecture. After lunch you’ll have a chance to explore the Arizona Biltmore Hotel on a private tour. The tour will highlight the Biltmore blocks, copper roofs, gold leaf ceilings and murals by Maynard Dixon and Edith Hamlin.
Immediately following our tour of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel we’ll board our bus for a Scottsdale Architecture bus tour. Scottsdale’s grand Sonoran Desert, with its rugged mountains, lush arroyos and distinctive flora, has inspired generations of talented architects, including luminaries like Frank Lloyd Wright, Will Bruder, Alfred Beadle, Ralph Haver and Paolo Soleri. Their creations run the architectural gamut from earthen structures that blend seamlessly with the natural environment to contemporary designs that mirror desert forms in glass, copper and steel, reflecting their beauty for all to see.
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch
Taliesin West is a national historic landmark nestled in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains outside of Scottsdale, AZ. Wright’s beloved winter home and the bustling headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship, Taliesin West was established in 1937 and diligently handcrafted over many years into a utopian world unto itself. Deeply connected to the desert from which it was forged, Taliesin West possesses an almost prehistoric grandeur. It was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it among the most personal of the architect’s creations.
Our day will include an extensive tour of Taliesin West, including living quarters, the dramatic “Garden Room,” Cabaret Theater, Music Pavilion, Wright’s private office and the Taliesin Fellowship Dining Room. In the afternoon we’ll take a Desert Shelters Tour showcasing structures built in the desert by the fellows themselves. This tour will include rocky, uneven surfaces as we will be hiking in the desert.
In the evening you’ll have the opportunity to visit Cattle Track, an artist’s compound and a treasure mainly unknown to the locals of the area. Maintaining its strong rural character, this complex has a random arrangement of buildings that include an adobe mix of residences, utilitarian structures, artist studios and storage spaces, as well as a number of outdoor living spaces. George Ellis designed and constructed many of the homes and buildings in the complex. You’ll enjoy an old-fashion barbecue dinner, tour of the complex and a chance to meet some of the resident artists.
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and check out at your leisure before noon.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Please Note: There is extensive walking during some of our tours, including rocky, uneven terrain at Taliesin West. Walking tours offer little to no time for sitting. Please remember to bring comfortable walking shoes.
Cost includes hotel accommodations, admission fees for tours, transportation to and from tour sites while in Scottsdale, three breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners.
Cancellation and Refund Policy (to be made in writing)
In the unfortunate event that you have to cancel your participation for the Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ trip, the following terms will apply: For reservations cancelled up to and including 90 days prior to departure will incur a $50 administrative fee. Later cancellations will be subject to the following charges: 40 to 89 days before scheduled departure 50% of tour cost; 7 to 39 days prior to departure the total cost of the trip, less any recoverable sums from independent providers or services, accommodations and the like; 6 days or less, including no-shows, or early return from the trip will result in forfeiture of 100% of the trip cost.