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Arizona architecture school founded by Frank Lloyd Wright to close

(Frank Lloyd Write Foundation Photo/Andrew Pielage)

PHOENIX – The venerable Arizona architecture school founded by Frank Lloyd Wright is closing, but it’s not the end of education at Taliesin West.

The School of Architecture at Taliesin, which debuted nearly 90 years ago and encompasses Wright properties in Wisconsin and Scottsdale, announced Tuesday it was closing when the spring semester ends in June.

However, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which operates the properties as a separate entity from the architecture school, said it was preparing to expand its education programming.

The foundation said the architecture college reported that it didn’t have a sustainable business model as an accredited school and decided against extending its operating agreement for a one-year transition period.

“The foundation had reached an agreement with the leaders of the SoAT board that would have allowed for second- and third-year students to complete their education at Taliesin and Taliesin West, and we are disappointed that it was not approved by the full SoAT Board. We continue to stand ready to assist in making sure that this change occurs in the best interests of the students,” Stuart Graff, the foundation’s president and CEO, said in a press release.

The architecture school, which Wright launched in 1932, currently has 30 students. School officials said they are working on an agreement with Arizona State University’s design school to allow those students’ credits to transfer.

“This is a sad and somber day for our school, our students and staff and the architecture community,” said Dan Schweiker, chairman of the School of Architecture at Taliesin Board of Governors.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation said Tuesday it remains committed to maintaining K-12 and adult ongoing education programs.

Taliesin West was established in 1937 at 12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. in Scottsdale. In addition to its educational offerings, the facility is available for tours, rentals and other events.

Until Wright’s death in 1959 at age 91, Taliesin West was his winter home and laboratory. The original Taliesin, Wright’s primary home in Spring Green, Wisconsin, was named after a 6th century Welsh bard whose name means “shining brow.”

Both retreats were among eight Wright-designed buildings recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites in July.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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