Survivalist tiny dorms at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin architecture school

Since Frank Lloyd Wright began building Taliesin West- his winter home and school in the desert-, students have been living in canvas tents as an alternative dorm. It was direct study of nature and the land, both important elements of Wright’s organic architecture.

Today the Shelter Program has evolved and students can design and build more complicated structures (they’re given a $1000 stipend and encouraged to raise more), but the small shelters continue to be off-grid, unplumbed and often without walls. This direct contact with the desert helps students confront just what is needed to provide shelter. “To me an architect is a man who,” wrote Wright in his autobiography, “knows the secrets of nature and studies them, is informed by them and comes out stronger with knowledge.”

Stephanie Schull, director of academic affairs at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, gave us a tour of a few of the 60 odd shelters (Note: We appreciate her giving us an impromptu tour and want to make clear that the opinions she gave during the interview were her opinions and not part of any school philosophy).

Taliesin Shelter Program

Original story:

Previous Lego Architecture: Imperial Hotel Build
Next Hacienda Heights Landscape Design - 3D Fly-through - Urban Landscape Design


  1. Joseph Mooney
    March 4, 2017

    Astonished at the negative comments below. Thank you for this video. I will watch it again.

  2. jukes243
    March 9, 2017

    I found this very interesting. Thank you.

  3. PlanetJeannie
    March 19, 2017

    I studied architecture at the Sims Freeplay University lol.

  4. Donald Emery
    March 22, 2017

    How do you get into this program, I have been with doing building for people, I am also a certified jig building for BOEING , I was not able to work for them, because of insurance.I am quite a bit older now & still dreams of building , thank you .The person that started Frank Lloyd Taliesin architecture has been my favorite . THANK YOU AGAIN .

  5. lenrdng90
    March 25, 2017

    waste of land and materials

  6. Andy Mac
    March 29, 2017

    Weird,none of these are minimalist in the true sense of the word,maybe the one without walls,maybe they were smoking some powerful stuff. 😉

  7. Gun Tech.
    March 29, 2017

    That'll learn'em! Hah. 🙂

  8. John Bruce
    March 30, 2017

    Those power lines must have really pissed the guy off!

  9. AsTheWheelsTurn
    April 4, 2017

    the desert floor is not that delicate. Obviously if everyone is tromping around in one area it will get to looking like shit but it wouldn't take decades to make it right again. my property is desert and it has been trampled before from vehicles and construction, you just rake it all back around randomly and give it a few months of non abuse and it looks the same as it ever did. one rain and plants grow again. the desert floor is very resilient. I do appreciate that she respects it though but yeah, not that delicate.

  10. Bilal Sardar
    April 10, 2017

    i just can get that how this thing has so many likes?

  11. Razzes Est
    April 18, 2017

    it is so wasted

  12. Pat Lowney
    April 21, 2017

    Frank Lloyd Wright was not his real name his last name was something like Belushi do a Google search on Frank Lloyd Wright and you will find this out to be correct his son went to Chicago and did building designing he didn't want to be cast in his Father's Footsteps and the son used his real name I saw one on a show called my strange inheritance the son inherited the home his father built

  13. l.m. Getz
    April 26, 2017

    Went here in 1987 when I first moved here!

  14. Anthony Cafiero
    April 30, 2017

    i understand the less is more and being one with your surroundings approach however i dont see the advantage of getting soaked. for god sakes buy a $20 can of water repellent spray to treat that canvas tarp

  15. malapropism27
    May 5, 2017

    I'm poor, but only ironically. It's to experiment with what it means to not have nice things, been going 30 years now.

  16. hades angelos
    May 5, 2017

    I'm from this area and the desert is nowhere near as fragile as this lady suggests, one good rain and you'll see an amazing amount of growth within a week, to the point you won't even recognize it. As for these structures, I see this as a architectual concept Proving Ground kind of thing.

  17. Andrew Perez
    May 8, 2017

    bullshit . they build it then they make a story behind it thats not true.

  18. Kazi Arafat Ahmed
    June 5, 2017

    An invitation for rattle snake

  19. KiloByte
    June 11, 2017

    And just think, if the Bernietards get their way us taxpayers will be footing the bill for this nonsense.

  20. mikey weaselwhipper
    June 18, 2017

    hell. no.

  21. Nancy Pontius
    June 20, 2017

    it's too hot in May up there, people will be getting heat stroke ugh. I am in TUcson and it is even hotter up there.

  22. Tyler Schwindt
    June 21, 2017

    reminds me of on walden pond and what is needed to shelter the inner warmth and what is superfluous and will on serve to way you down.

  23. reiko na6ase
    June 26, 2017

    more down to earth mumbo jumbo by people who aren't native but desperately want to feel special

  24. sdfklsdfls
    June 27, 2017

    Survivalist? How about joining the modern. world and fighting for more economic rights, higher wages and taxing wall st? why run into the woods just to survive? is this not the modern world?

  25. H. Thi
    June 29, 2017

    thank you! love your channel!!

  26. eshiveley
    July 11, 2017

    The suspended tent designer's girlfriend was all, "You better get me up off the desert floor!" and it was so. Later she was all, "You better not design hosepitals in autocad for $29,000 a year!" And he was all, "Okay I'll design modern custom homes for $1,700 a year until I get a foothold, bitch." And she was all, "Build me my dream home right now!" And he designed a tent that was suspended over a cliff. One that wasn't over-engineered like the one shown here.

  27. Russell Pierce
    July 31, 2017

    having a minimal amount of walls to make a space work is one of the things i found coolest about houses in thailand, it allows everything to come and go. you get bugs in your house? well they leave in just a bit because they can, and they very rarely get in the way. it also allows for lots of breeze to keep the house nice and cool when it'd otherwise be sweltering

  28. tortugabob
    August 12, 2017

    Just like the school to let students build shelters where the tarp roof doesn't keep the rain out. They leak like Wright's flat roof Usonian houses. And can you imagine how hot that suspended pyramid with the clear roof is? It looks like a common problem in every one of the structures. Hot as Hades so no residents for a least half the year. Houses or shelters should be living spaces for the whole year.

  29. tortugabob
    August 12, 2017

    I always wanted to be an architect. I still study architecture but went down another career path. One thing I have noticed was many architects don't want to build structures for people to live in as much as they want to build monuments to themselves. Look at the "Modern" architecture movement. It's 75 years later and most of it looks cheap, flimsy, dirty and most of all, hated by the masses. I prefer the indigenous architecture of places like the Greek isles. Everything is the same but different in some way to give variety and intimacy. Some of Wright's ideas resonate but to be honest he was a pompous ass who could not see how bad some of his ideas were.

  30. plan pitz
    August 23, 2017

    I wonder where the students went to crap!In the desert?To stony to dig a hole!

  31. Sloan
    September 1, 2017

    It's rather silly. Pointless unsure and exposed to elements, insects and animals not to mention human hazards. The hippy mindset is rather odd.

  32. Ididnotk illjfk
    September 26, 2017

    Woo philosophy that misses the target of practical

  33. Davina Wolf
    October 2, 2017


  34. Alexandra Stratan
    October 2, 2017

    are there scorpions roaming the area? DId she say there is some privacy? I am sorry not sure how to classify this sort of nonsense.

  35. Charlotte Dickson
    October 3, 2017

    I think the concept is very cool. The reality of scorpions, snakes, gila monsters having such easy access would not allow me to sleep. When I lived in Phoenix (in another lifetime ago) scorpions sometimes got into your house– I'm not even sure about fire ants. No, I could not do this.

  36. Jeffrey Buchalco
    October 17, 2017

    thankyou for the tour! I have been to Scottsdale, but not to the taliesin school of architecture and art! when I view the hills and surroundings I envision a structure which mimics those same hills regardless of size! materials for construction? cardboard? perhaps plastic bottles repurposed for waterproofing! mimicking a samurai armour! greenhouse glazing which simulates 'pools of water' or small ponds which capture and collect moisture for storage, etc.! colored transparent plastic, oil paper, etc. to produce sunset effects, etc. ! I hope to try my hand on these issues with imagination and thrift! (

  37. Antonia Ignacio
    October 18, 2017

    I love your video just BEAUTIFUL 😆 thank you for the Adventures

  38. hitchhiker
    October 19, 2017

    My concern there are the poison snakes & spiders in the desert! Necessary in that environment would seem to be enclosure. I read that every poisonous thing in the US is in Arizona so how could the "open air" concept work there?

  39. come on man!
    October 20, 2017

    fucking professional development cunt with no understanding of people or place.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *