Thursday, July 12, 2007

Taliesin West in Scottsdale regains accreditation

[Source: Tony Illia] -- The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, also known as Taliesin, regained full accreditation last month from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Its future had been in doubt since the HLC placed it on notice in 2005, following falling enrollment and turmoil within the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which runs the school. Maintaining HLC accreditation is a prerequisite for National Architectural Accrediting Board accreditation, which the school currently has for its master's program. “The stakes were very high for accreditation,” observes Victor Sidy, AIA, who was appointed as the new dean two years ago. “We’ve since streamlined administration and empowered our fulltime faculty to take a more active role in development.”

Taliesin today has 19 students and four fulltime faculty members. Although that’s double the size it was two years ago, it is still one of the country’s smallest accredited architectural schools, with a $500,000 annual budget. Taliesin also remains unusual for its pedagogy. Students follow Wright’s credo that architects should “learn by doing.” The school will continue to emphasize this and other core values including sustainability, Sidy says, but it is encouraging students to explore a broader, more diverse spectrum of architectural styles and periods, using Wright as a touchstone rather than a doctrine. We’re now stretching out, encouraging students to develop their own voice,” Sidy explains.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.]