They say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. But what about the opposite effect, that we tend to take the people and places we see every day for granted? Just like the New York natives who have never been to Times Square or visited the Statue of Liberty, how many Valley residents have never hiked Camelback Mountain or eaten at Pizzeria Bianco, despite it being named the best in the US? (Based upon our obsession with food and our abject terror at the thought of exercising, we’re sure you can guess which one is still on our bucket list.)
So it’s only natural that we’re all a little blasé about the fact that the Valley is home to world-class collection of Frank Lloyd Wright homes and buildings. After all, he’s only the most famous, influential architect in American history, and he lived and worked (and died) right here in Scottsdale. So today we’re going to make it easy to get up close and personal with one of Wright’s most unique and overlooked masterpieces.
Commissioned mere months before Wright’s death in 1959 (and completed by a hand-picked protege), the Grady Gammage Auditorium is considered Wright’s last major project. Located on the campus of ASU, this distinctive birthday cake-like design was originally proposed for an opera house in Baghdad, Iraq, before Wright reconfigured it for a different desert. Completed in 1964, this 3,000 seat performance hall is considered one of the most acoustically-perfect spaces in the world. In fact, rumor has it that all rock ‘n’ roll acts have been banned from Gammage since Bruce Springsteen’s rollicking guitar chords cracked the foundation during a concert there in the mid 1970s.