So on our first day in Wisconsin, we took a field trip out to Taliesin, the estate where Frank Lloyd Wright lived for the last 40-odd years of his life. I’ve been meaning to for the five years I’ve gone to Wiscon. We went with Janine and Doselle Young, another sf power couple, braving the cows and silos to reach this modern masterpiece of design.
photo by Doselle Young
Historically speaking, there is no “true Taliesin” to preserve. The main house was constantly rebuilt by Wright and his acolytes, becoming sort of a sort of living laboratory of architecture. But you can feel his ego everywhere, the low ceilings pushing you to sit down when he wants you to, the views perfectly callibrated when you’re in the right chair, facing the right way. The house lets you know who’s still in charge: the dead architect.
Speaking of death . . . like all great architecture, Taliesin has great stories. The house was leveled twice during Wright’s lifetime, once by lightning and once by arson, his third wife burnt alive–along with kids and houseguests–by an enraged gardener. Whoa.
And it just gets weirder. In 1985, more than 25 years after his death, Wright’s body was snatched from the nearby cemetary. You see, his fourth and final wife wanted him exhumed and cremated upon her death, their ashes scattered together. But his family was a bit more old-school than that, and were like, “Uh, no.” But shortly after the wife’s death her supporters went on a midnight raid and dug Wright up. And the ashes got scattered together.
Which brings me to zombies. I wish I could say it was all the tour guide’s talk of murder and grave-robbing, but actually, I’m kind of immature about world heritage sights. Whenever I visit them, I think about where I want to live if there’s a world-depopulating plague. In a Wright house? The Battersea Power Station? Or maybe the Taj Mahal . . . because I’m not really into canned food or solitude, so the only really cool thing about global depopulation is all the freed-up architectural masterpieces.
But then my mind turns to other Last Man Alive issues, like, say, zombie apocalypse. So Doselle and I were standing there in Wright’s incredible house, cogitating on defensive issues. Of course, it does make the architecture come alive, worrying about hordes of zombies attacking.
So here’s our quick analysis, entitled, “Taliesin in Zombie Apocalypse: Fortress or Deathtrap?”
1. Views in all directions to spot approaching zombie hordes, especially from the Romeo and Juliet Windmill Tower located on the estate.
2. Solid sandstone construction, not likely to be torn to pieces by undead hands.
3. Frank Lloyd Wright chairs never let you get “too comfortable.”
4. No major population centers nearby, just farmland. See map.
5. Organic melding of architecture and landscape allows for interlocking fields of fire.
6. Shop in vistors’ center can be looted for tasteful gifts.
1. Lots of windows to be boarded up.
2. Rough exterior walls can be easily climbed by zombie horde.
3. No last-stand “suicide” basement.
4. Surrounding open spaces allow 28 Days-style “fast” zombies to get a big head of steam up.
5. Bring your own guns a must.
So, yes, a masterpiece, and highly recommended for a day trip if you like cool design. But in case of zombie apocalypse, I would stick to the mall until those 28 days (or whatever) are over.
57 thoughts on “Frank Lloyd Wright vs. Zombies”
I found this website because I was trying to verify what this gentlemen wrote in a review of ‘Land of the Dead’:
Does anyone believe this? Or is this reviewer just pulling things out of the air? Is Kaufman in the latest Romero Zombie movie a nod to the first owner of Fallingwater?
This is indeed shocking news, Jim. Thanks for alerting us. I have elevated it to its own post.
Zombie animals could be a huge problem. I would suggest
no one attempt to hide in a zoo. Think about it, if zombie squirrels and beavers can ruin so many plans , what would zombie bears, zombie lions and zombie pythons do to even the best tought out plans?
Land of the Dead looks awesome! I’m going to see it tonight!
I work at Taliesin, and this is so funny. So this is what people talk about when they’re on tour… hmmm.
We’ve had our own scenario, which is FLLW as the James Bond nemesis. FLLW has his plan for world domination: the construction of Broadacre City. He invites Mies van Der Rohe, Corbusier and Gropius to his living room to explain the plot, but Mies declines. So he’s thrown off the Birdwalk into the pond (which is stocked with man-eating sharks) by Wes Peters. People are trapped inside the Taliesin Estate because the Romeo & Juliet Windmill tower shoots laserbeams, and mosquito hordes subdue all other commers (it’s been a mild mosquito year, here, but usually they’re unbelievable).
That’s about as far as we got, but Wes Peters (FLLW’s son-in-law, who was 6’4″) was to be FLLW’s henchman who uses a compass with a sharp end as his secret weapon. Oh, and James Bond is finally saved by the arrival of the US secret service. On a Taliesin shuttle bus. Other tourists try to get onto the shuttle bus when the secret service guys are loading at the visitor center, but unfortunately, the tourists have to be told, “I’m sorry, the 3:00 armed assault on Taliesin is sold out. Would you like a Hillside tour?”
I just got back from Falling Water, and I have to say it is not the choice home for zombie protection. The seamless windows that run up the entire length of the house would act like a zombie latter, and be almost impossible to board up. Like Taliesin, Falling Water has no basement for “last-stand â€œsuicide””.
However, just minutes away from Falling Water is Kentuck Knob.
Now that is a house meant for zombie defense. One side has no real windows. Just shapes, used to build the house, cut into the wood along the top boarder. The entire house is on a large hill. Now I understand the earlier posters concern about machine gun use, but if you know how to use a machine gun higher ground is still a clear advantage in any battle.
The area is surrounded with trees. I would suggest trenching around the house, and spreading diesel fuel through out the forest, and setting it with a trigger. You’ve only got one small seamless window to bock and it’s close to a hill side. There are some large windows to worry about, but they are on top of a wall.
This home is wildly different, because it does have a basement for “”last-stand â€œsuicide””.
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