Taliesen West: observation

TEL 705
May 30, 2018

The most obvious feature from Taliesin West that relates to the class, for me, is the use of the rocks from the surrounding desert (combined with concrete) that form the structural walls of the buildings. Wright was big into organic architecture that was contextualized by its place, and I think that speaks to me in the same way that we are approaching this entire program through the lens of our own Problems of Practice. We’re using our own workplaces and our own experiences as practitioners, educators and scholars to try to improve some element of what we’re doing. That feels similarly organic and helps me feel better connected to each reading and assignment, knowing that they’re inherently useful as “building materials” for where we’re headed. Wright framed the rocks within wood and poured concrete, so perhaps metaphorically, we could think of the readings and guidance from faculty and our peers as a similar kind of scaffolding that grounds our contexts and strengthens our work as educational researchers.

As an educational space, I think there are a few bits and pieces to chew through. Obviously, I entered the space as a tourist, and was led through in a collective (social) tour group by a tour guide. So there’s a layer of education/teaching there, particularly with our immersion in the space. But there is also an architecture school there, as well as programming for K12 students and even professional learning for educators.

But the piece that I’m thinking most about here is the inspiration of the space(s), or the way it seemed to open up new possibilities for me with each new room I walked in. Some of it was localized in how I might think about some of my home decor, but a lot of reminded me of accessibility and organization in an online course (or on any webpage, really) for how color is used. I also reflected on how different spaces were designed with distinct social or private functions – or even the distinction between the garden living room’s external seating vs. the cabaret vs. the theater space. I think one of the pieces that made the space interesting, from an educational standpoint, was just how much being there and walking IN the space and experiencing it allowed me to have my own moments of reflection. And now it has me thinking what other educational corollaries could exist that really provide immersive experiences where people can reflect in situ. There’s probably a mindfulness element to it, too.

For the photos, I thought I’d try playing around with the SlideShare integration widget – so hopefully it works. Let me know what you think!

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