“A Desert Laboratory:
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Patterns
in the Sonoran Desert

Research, Senior Thesis
Princeton University
Senior Thesis
Advisor: Spyros Papapetros
Princeton NJ, Arizona

Winner of the Barnard White Prize 2022

A research paper looking at the desert as a major influence in Frank Lloyd Wright’s career. Centered around his 1929 Ocotillo Camp in Southern Arizona, Wright offers an unconventional departure from the sterile office and into the field, parallel to other scientific disciplines. Wright worked to conventionalizing the desert sphere through intensive pattern making, spanning table cloth, to electric board, to residential plans - all inspired by geometric and triangular forms in the desert. 

This project analyzes four primary works: his six-month Ocotillo research camp (immersive lab), the unbuilt plans for the San Marcos in the Desert hotel (architectural drawings), the Taliesin West Fellowship (building and social structure), and Broadacre City which looked at the impact of the desert on his urban utopia (physical model).

Credit: OA+D Journal of Organic Architecture +Design, V7-N3 2019
Credit: Taliesin West Archive
Credit: MOMA, Liberty Cover “Desert Triangles” or “September Desert”
Credit: OA+D