The interior of the Music Pavilion.
Andrew Pielage Photography The interior of the Music Pavilion.

In an effort to boost the energy efficiency of Frank Lloyd Wright’s former home and maintain the renowned architect’s legacy, Seattle-based lighting design firm Studio Lux has embarked on a multi-year project to bring new light to the historic landmark.

Andrew Pielage Photography

Studio Lux partnered with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to retrofit the lighting at Taliesin West, Wright’s winter home and studio in Scottsdale, Ariz., as well as Taliesin Spring, the architect’s home in Spring Green, Wis. The firm invited lighting manufacturers to submit fixture samples for their evaluation of the luminaires’ ambient feel, cost-effectiveness, and durability. Studio Lux selected a fixture produced by Osram Sylvania. The company has in turn donated more than 2,000 LED lamps, including A19, BR30, PAR38, PAR30, and G25 types to both campuses. 

Andrew Pielage Photography

The exterior of the Music Pavilion.
Andrew Pielage Photography The exterior of the Music Pavilion.

In a video interview, Studio Lux studio manager and senior lighting designer Jim Sultan describes the three-fold goal of the project: to maintain the look of Taliesin West by using a  color temperature to match the warm glow of incandescent, to reduce energy use to achieve net-zero energy once all electrical uses are taken into consideration, and to cut maintenance and operation costs. By switching all of the incandescent lamps with LED sources, Frank Lloyd Wright's original handcrafted luminaires can be preserved, while reaching sustainability goals that were not an issue in Wright’s time.

This is the latest phase of the Energizing Taliesin West program, an ongoing initiative involving the retrofitting of energy efficient interior and exterior lighting at the Arizona site, home to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Led by energy efficiency consultant Big Green Zero, the program is focused on the goal of continuing Lloyd Wright’s legacy of innovation by implementing new methods to achieve net-zero energy.

Andrew Pielage Photography

Energizing Taliesin West launched in 2012 when an energy audit utilizing EnergyActio software found that the site’s $170,000 annual energy bill could be cut by 51 percent through lighting upgrades, the use of renewable solar power, and other energy-efficient methods.  

The next phase of the upgrade project, which will begin this summer, will center on installing an energy monitoring system. Looking to 2016, the Energizing Taliesin West program is seeking partnerships for additional projects that may include daylight fabric roofing, HVAC equipment and controls, water conservation, and recycling of greywater for use in landscaping.