So. Weekend in AZ. Family time. Good bonding with my mom and her sisters. Reconfirmation that my grandad is, in fact, a nutjob. Not a surprise. The highlights:
Taliesin West. My dad is not a fan because it was built on the cheap and they keep having to fix it. Me, I like the ideas it showcases. It was built by Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture students, and they still take students now. During their first year, they live in tents like the students always have. Their second year, they are given materials to make their own shelter. I think this is a brilliant idea. There are quite a few brilliant ideas on showcase there, my favorite being nothing running North/South or East/West but ALL turned on a 45 degree angle. This is a wonderful use of one of the desert's best resources - light. The roofs were all originally canvas and all of the buildings have great light inside, and are situated to take advantage of/frame the best views around. The consciousness of the land they were using is very present, I have to say, unusually so. And I love it. Not all of the execution, but so many of the ideas. So many of them are now common design practices that it was interesting to see where they were first tried out.
Also, I like FLW's taste in accessories. The dragon was a fountain until they decided it didn't seem right for a dragon to be spitting water. So they hooked it up to a gas line and now it spouts a 3 ft. flame during the night tours.
This fountain just made a wonderful sound. It is thin metal and most of it is above the water level so the falling water makes a distinctive sort of gong-like sound as it splashes. I want one.
Sedona is very pretty, we hiked around Red Rock State Park and it was beautiful (perfect weather for it, too). We then went downtown for a snack and in retrospect, I would have preferred staying out in the rocks. Downtown is super-built-up and crowded to the point that I really wanted out of there. We shopped briefly and that was still more than enough.
The botanical gardens were my one real disappointment. A. we only had an hour there, and B. my camera ran out of batteries. That said, the place is fucking awesome! I could have spent half a day there farting around taking pictures of plants, and that would have been without the Chiluly exhibit. I don't like the guy particularly, I think he is one of the best examples of Matt's snotty little saying "Trust the art, not the artist", but he has found an absolutely spectacular setting for his art. Desert plants can be a bit monochromatic, if structurally intriguing. He sticks his stuff out there and the structures fit in so well, and the colors stand out so starkly that I think it was the perfect combo.