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Retooling It Wright; Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's Energized Agenda Continues with 'Privatization' of Its Taliesin Architects Subsidiary.

Business Editors


Change to Boost Younger Architects,

Entrepreneurial Opportunities for All

Obtaining six-year reaccreditation of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

Organizing the Taliesin Fellowship's 70th Anniversary in Spring Green, Wis.

Securing a $500,000 appropriation from Scottsdale, Ariz. to restore the never before opened Living Quarters of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mrs. Wright, and to expand the Visitor Center at Taliesin West.

Extending the Taliesin West experience into downtown Scottsdale with a to-be-premiered exhibit this Fall.

Expanding Foundation fundraising with the first annual "Preservation Party," held April 24 at Taliesin West, anchored by special guest Hugh Downs.

Persuading a Tiffany & Co. veteran to assume a new post and improve the Foundation's retailing, marketing and licensing programs.

It's been a very busy and productive first year at the helm of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation for CEO Jim Goulka.

Now the Foundation is creating new opportunities for the members of the Taliesin Fellowship who practice architecture in Spring Green and Madison, Wis. and Scottsdale.

Goulka said the changes are due to several factors, including the increasing number of younger architects and students desiring greater entrepreneurial opportunities and freedoms.

"Since 1932 over 600 people learned architecture at Taliesin. Most moved on to independent careers. John Lautner, Fay Jones, Vern Swaback, Alden Dow, Aaron Green and Paolo Soleri, all outstanding architects, built on their Taliesin experiences to create new and exciting architecture. We are now giving the 12 resident Fellowship architects the same freedom. They can express their individual visions while, at the same time, continuing to live the fellowship life at Taliesin and Taliesin West," Goulka said today.

Swaback, a Wright apprentice, 22-year member of Taliesin Architects and now president of Swaback Partners, applauded the initiative.

"Mr. Wright was a constant source of change and experimentation. Besides, the strength of an organization is an ability to change effectively. I'm pleased to see Taliesin Architects taking the steps they are," he said.

More specifically, Goulka said the reshaping of the architectural practice at Taliesin will include:

-- The architects forming their own business entities, enabling

them to work on projects they individually choose, rather than

a "firm" doing so.

-- Providing architects with increased operating flexibility.

With infrastructure already in place, Taliesin Architects as a

firm will become a more decentralized group, providing office

space and support services to the new confederation of

architects. In essence, we are "privatizing" the practice,

Goulka said.

-- Inquiries for architectural services to either Taliesin or

Taliesin West will now be referred to the resident architects

individually. Some of these trained under Frank Lloyd Wright

directly, others are recent graduates of the Frank Lloyd

Wright School of Architecture, all learned as apprentices at

Taliesin and Taliesin West. "Potential clients will now more

easily find the architect that fits their own personal

preferences and interests," Goulka said.

"The new opportunities are additional key steps, along with the others taken in the past year, to energize all facets of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in both the short-term and the long-term. Combined, the new efforts will enhance our mission to advance and communicate the legacy of Mr. Wright," he said.

The changes will not impact the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture's enrollment, faculty or curriculum. "'Learning by doing,' the hallmark of a Taliesin education, happens when working with architects," Goulka said. "We think this change will bring more architectural work to the architects and so more learning by doing opportunities for our students."

The economy was also a factor. As in all businesses devoted to new construction, swings in the economy have a significant impact on Taliesin Architects' profitability. "The Foundation's mission is to educate the public in the philosophy and work of Frank Lloyd Wright. We do this through public tours, the School of Architecture and the preservation of Mr. Wright's most important work, Taliesin and Taliesin West. Financial predictability is important to achieving the mission. Freeing the Foundation from the uncertainties of the real estate industry enhances the predictability of its operations thereby enabling us to invest more effectively in our educational programs," Goulka observed.

Arnold Roy, a lifelong member of Taliesin Architects, is a proponent.

"Even though we have been a centralized organization for many years we still made individual choices as architects regarding our collaboration and ideas. Decentralizing the organization will not change our ability to collaborate with each other. Instead, it will encourage us all to work that much harder since we will now keep more of what we produce. Not only is this a good thing for the practice, it will have the added benefit of increasing the story of Mr. Wright's work," Roy said.

Jacqueline Kimber a 33-year-old architect at Taliesin in Spring Green, echoed Roy's sentiments.

"The changes at Taliesin Architects reflect the best of both worlds for the next generation. We get to work and continue to learn in our unbelievable settings at Taliesin and Taliesin West while now having more freedom to take on more individual projects where we can apply so many lessons learned," Kimber said. "Both our professional lives and the Taliesin Fellowship will be strengthened."

For more information, please contact Jim Goulka.
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Date:May 2, 2003
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