Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture Set to Lose Accreditation in 2017

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Taliesin West faces possible closure in 2017.
It looks like the graduating class of 2017 may be the last for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's board of trustees has decided not to pursue independent incorporation for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, which, thanks to a recent 2012 policy by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), is now required to remain an accredited school. As a result, in two and a half years, the school's Master of Architecture program will come to an end.

See also: Frank Lloyd Wright House in Phoenix Sold Again to New Anonymous Buyer

The Board of Trustees' decision to not make changes that would restore the accreditation of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture comes as a major disappointment to the school's governing board, which released the following statement:

"We encourage Foundation leadership to reconsider their actions and engage the School and its leadership in a productive conversation about how to continue the accredited Master of Architecture program the School now enjoys. Without it, they will be responsible for ending one of the most distinctive chapters in American architectural education and one of the greatest architectural legacies of all time."

Should the Foundation's board of trustees change their decision, the governing board believes that the HLC would be willing to work with the school to become accredited under the new policy. "They've been enormously cooperative and helpful with us," says governing board member David Mahoney, who believes that giving the school independent incorporation wouldn't produce any major changes to way things operate currently.

"I still believe personally that the Foundation could exert all of the financial control, governing control, so there would not be any concern that they would have to make a commitment to something they couldn't control."

The Foundation's board of trustees will meet next month with the possibility of revisiting this decision. Until then, the school's governing board is getting the word out while remaining hopeful in the continued future of the school.

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Taliesin West

12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ

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not surprised- the dean...- try only hiring based on quals maybe they will get a different result...


What a tragedy Foundation President Sean Malone is leading our school into.Instead of taking the Higher Learning Commission’s simple remedy to allow the school to be independent, he’d hoard his power by selling our school in a “partnership”.Didn’t they already court potential universities only to find logistics and strong branding yielded no partners at all?Why pursue a dead end that kills Wright’s creation, when the HLC bent over backwards to help?

When his partnership doesn’t work, he told us of his next big plan: ending the accredited Masters program to only offer Post-Graduate studies, even as universities are phasing these out due to lack of interest.  According to those who tried this, architects can’t easily drop out of practice to go back to school, especially when they don’t have to.  We need accredited Masters Degrees to become architects, but he’d end that to offer programs nobody wants.

All his life Frank Lloyd Wright trained architects, his community still sending accredited Masters into the Twenty-First Century with a 92% placement rate, a tremendous success in a world begging for original, sustainable, organic architecture.  We learn by doing, building structures, learning historical preservation, mastering digital rendering with professional architects at our side, a near-one-on-one teaching ratio, taking classes with Cambridge professors, international teachers, dining with top architects who visit from around the world because Wright knew that some of the best lessons came when gathered around a candle-lit table, as we did with Renzo Piano a few months back.  We live and play on two beautiful campuses.  We host lectures, concerts and films.  We don’t just study famous sites, we travel to them, walk them, touch them, taking trips to major cities, field trips to other states, spending weeks in far off countries with professors, singing in choirs, acting in Shakespeare, sketching and painting and drawing – developing the whole person, remarkably faithful to Wright’s dream.  An 82-year old tradition will end because the Foundation that was created to sustain the school, can’t share.

Christopher Lock

Masters student

Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture

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