The Frank Lloyd Wright Spire – Love it or Hate it?

In the case of The Frank Lloyd Wright Spire, the Arizona State Capitol’s loss is clearly Scottsdale’s gain. Designed in 1954, the Spire was way ahead of its time, which is actually very characteristic of many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs. Rejected for being too radical in the ’50s, the awe-inspiring structurefinally materialized in 2004 at his old office at the Taliesin West Promenade. More than half a century later, the Spire remains very much avant-garde, a testament to Wright’s imagination and artistry.  And as it’s location is just mile or two from our Scottsdale showroom, the Thingz Scottsdale team gets the opportunity to see it often!

Already an amazing sight in all of its 125 feet and clever pattern of steel and glass, the Frank Lloyd Wright Spire is an even more remarkable image at night. It normally looks like a futuristic elevated and elongated pyramid with an enormous spire at the top, but when it gets dark, it transcends architectural beauty and becomes something magical to behold. It is illuminated from within by more than a hundred eight-foot lamps, which give the building an ice blue glow to onlookers outside.

The Spire is said to have been inspired by local elements, such as forms of native plants reflected in the serrated edges of the light fixtures; the image of the Saguaro cactus seen in its verticality; the colors of sky and vegetation manifested in the shades decorating the geometric patterns on the structure, etc. You can just imagine the meticulous thought process at work when the Spire was being designed. All this is actually quite typical of Frank Lloyd’s adherence to the concept of organic architecture.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Spire has since its construction become a famous landmark in Scottsdale. Located in an a small park that is home to many architectonic elements and other works of art, the Spire is nothing short of spectacular and is very hard to miss. Although this area at the intersections of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and Scottsdale Road is a favorite haunt for architecture and art lovers, you do not have to be an aficionado to realize that the Spire is a true city treasure. Not only does it literally look like a cool blue gem, it is also part of the great architect’s legacy to the world.

Had Phoenix embraced the proposal instead of dismissing it, it would have had another landmark to add to the city’s charm and character, in pretty much the way Paris has the Obelisk, Seattle has the Space Needle, etc. In the case of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, spires are, in fact, very representative of the Modernist movement. It would have definitely been a great art statement for the State Capitol, but perhaps the Spire actually ended up in the best place for it. Amidst other inventive pieces of art and architecture, the Spire looks very much at home. However, let it be a lesson to cities that get design proposals from brilliant architects. If the government of Paris had listened to residents opposing the erecting of the hideous eyesore, the Eiffel Tower might have never come to be.  In the meantime, the people and visitors of Scottsdale have The Frank Lloyd Wright Spire to enjoy and to remind themselves of the genius of an architect who was light years ahead of his time.

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Scott

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