Described by Frank Lloyd Wright as “how to live in the southwest,” the David and Gladys Wright House rises above the Phoenix desert at the base of Camelback Mountain, manifesting the architect’s distinctive design idea of organic architecture. A spiral ramp coils around the parking area, a former swimming pool, and a courtyard, leading into a sequence of living spaces that provide an unobstructed 360-degree view of the mountain range over orange trees.
Now, the single-family house the architect designed for his son and daughter-in-law will be part of the School of Architecture at Taliesin (formerly the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture). Completed in 1952, the house remained the couple’s residence until Gladys’ death in 2008 (David died in 1997). In 2012, a real estate developer purchased the house with plans to demolish it before Zach Rawling, a lawyer and custom-home builder, stepped in and bought it.
On June 8, plans were announced to donate the house to a new supporting organization of the Arizona Community Foundation for the benefit of the architecture school, which currently has two campuses in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Spring Green, Wis.—Taliesins West and East. While the school will begin occupying the house this year, the Rawling family will not transfer ownership to the organization until it reaches a $7 million endowment goal. The organization will own the house and manage the endowment, while the school will take over the house’s operation, restoration, and preservation, and use it as a community, cultural, and education center.