Taliesin West inspires Developer of Toyon Terraces in Sausalito
by Laurie Thompson
Rob Rose, the developer of Toyon Terraces in the hills of Sausalito, visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in 1952. He was clearly inspired by Wright’s concept of “organic architecture” when planning the development of Toyon Terraces. Toyon Terraces was featured at the 1954 Art & Garden Fair in Ross in an exhibit of scale models, architectural drawings and photographs. The June 25, 1954 Sausalito News describes the exhibit:
Siting of the new contemporary style homes which are individually architect-designed to blend with the natural landscape of the beautiful wooded areas in Toyon Terraces, is emphasized in the exhibit. The architectural renderings in color and the enlarged photographs will show visitors to the Fair how these homes are planned and built to fit onto the sloping hillsides of Sausalito.
In 1953 Marin County Planning Director Mary Summers purchased Rob Roses’ Toyon Terrace home while he built a new one in the same neighborhood. Mary Summers and Supervisor Vera Schultz were the County officials who were inspired to contact Frank Lloyd Wright to design the Marin County Civic Center in 1957.
Toyon Terraces developer, Rob Rose describes his visit to Taliesin West in his”Toyon View” column, in the January 3, 1952 issue of the Sausalito News:
Rising out of the foothills at the end of a winding road across the desert north of town is Taliesin West, an exciting expression in native stone, concrete and redwood. The main unit, built about twelve years ago for the winter school of Wright’s student architects, has been expanded yearly. Fifty students of the Fellowship recently arrived in a motorcade of jeeps, MGs and trucks from Wisconsin. They divide their time between large drafting rooms, study in the library, music in the new playhouse, and construction on the buildings. Each takes his turn at cooking and other housekeeping chores. Ancient Indian hieroglyphics, found scratched on boulders, furnished inspiration for some of the architectural designs. Wright describes Taliesin West: “…We devised a light canvas-covered redwood framework resting upon massive stone masonry that belonged to the mountain slopes all around….” The masonry is constructed of concrete poured into forms against which have been placed great blocks of vivid volcanic stone. Thus, all faces of the walls, columns, beams and floors match the warm color scheme and rough texture of the wild terrain so that the buildings seem to grow out of the surrounding desert.” Rooms flow into rooms and open out to Nature. Nature is brought indoors by many gardens of wild flowers, of giant saguaro, cholls, and other cacti, of mesquite, palo verde and other flowering trees — all refreshed by placid pools, splashing fountains, and a swimming pool. Frank Lloyd Wright, who lifelong has preached the beauty of natural materials, the preservation of natural landscaping and the complete harmony of homes with their surroundings, and who dislikes the crowding of typical subdivisions and the marring of vistas with telephone poles, might well feel gratified to learn that his preachings are inspiring such developments as Sausalito’s own Toyon Terraces.
Originally published at https://annetkent.kontribune.com.