Dezeen Magazine

School of Architecture at Taliesin board reverses decision to close Frank Lloyd Wright's school

The board of directors of the School of Architecture at Taliesin, which was established by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1932, has voted to reverse its decision to close after a public outcry allowed it to secure additional funding.

The School of Architecture at Taliesin board voted to keep the school open as its financial situation and long-term viability improved following its decision to close.

The announcement comes just over a month after the school made the "gut-wrenching decision" to close as it could not come to a financial agreement with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

"The Board confirmed that its financial situation is such that it has long-term viability, especially in light of new support that has come forward since January of this year," said a statement released by law firm Kirkland & Ellis.

School could remain open

However, the vote by the school board does not necessarily secure the school's future as the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which owns the buildings the school is housed within, has to approve the decision.

"The school board is now calling on the foundation to allow the school to extend its existing agreement so it can remain open, but the foundation is being resistant and still retains the power to force the school to close unless a deal is reached," continued the statement.

The School of Architecture at Taliesin made its initial decision to close at the end of the current semester after failing to arrange a financial plan with the foundation.

At the time it announced that both its campuses in Scottsdale, Arizona and Spring Green, Wisconsin would be closed as it "was not able to reach an agreement with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to keep the school open".

School secured additional funding

The decision to close the school led to widespread anger from architects and critics including Blair Kamin, who described it as an "End of an era" on Twitter.

"It's a tragedy" said architect Ben Aranda. "The foundation has removed the soul of Taliesin for selfish interests. They don't see the school (as an accredited MArch programme) as part of their mission of preserving Taliesin."

The reaction to the closure may have helped the school secure additional funding that has allowed it to remain open.

Aaron Betsky, president of the School of Architecture at Taliesin, told USA Today that the school had secured other funding, although he did not say from where or how much.

Architecture school separated from foundation in 2017

The school was established in 1932 by Wright, who is America's most influential 20th-century architect. It was funded by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation until 2017 when it split from the parent organisation and was renamed the School of Architecture at Taliesin.

The separation happened after the school was threatened with losing its accreditation to award architecture degrees as it was not an independent organisation.

"Accredited institutions must be separately incorporated from sponsoring organisations," John Hausman, a spokesman for the Higher Learning Commission, which overseeing the accreditation of universities and colleges, told USA Today at the time.