new visualizations revealed of frank lloyd wright’s unbuilt arizona capitol 'oasis'

new visualizations revealed of frank lloyd wright’s unbuilt arizona capitol 'oasis'

newly completed visualizations are revealed of frank lloyd wright’s controversial, unbuilt arizona capitol ‘oasis.’ to honor the proposal, rejected by the architect’s adopted home state, the frank lloyd wright foundation partners with spanish architect and digital artist david romero to transform the archival drawings into contemporary visualizations. the foundation’s magazine ‘the frank lloyd wright quarterly’ uncovers the rich history behind the contentious proposal.

frank lloyd wright oasis
all images courtesy of frank lloyd wright foundation



frank lloyd wright introduced plans for the ‘oasis’ state capitol in 1957 as a gift to his adopted home state of arizona where he had lived for two decades. the unsolicited proposal, an homage to desert-derived architecture, was presented for the city of phoenix who was embroiled over the widely published designs. through his good intentions, the architect had caused months of public contention, ultimately leading to the design’s denunciation. the frank lloyd wright foundation continues: ‘state officials denounced the design, calling it ‘too ornate’ and ‘too expensive,’ even though its estimated cost was $5 million, $3 million less than the originally proposed skyscraper. one legislator went so far as to say that the oasis looked like an ‘oriental whorehouse.’

frank lloyd wright oasis



frank lloyed wright envisioned his proposal as an ‘oasis’ within phoenix’s so-called valley of the sun. honoring the spirit of the aizona desert landscape, the masterplan is characterized by a monumental canopy of copper-plated latticework, featuring permeable openings for sunlight, fountains, and trees. birds would be allowed to roost, to nest, and to fly through. this element would have created an integration of interior and exterior space, hybridizing the building and the landscape. a system of pedestrian transportation was designed, with moving sidewalks and shuttles across an expanse of gardens with fountains.

frank lloyd wright oasis



the ‘oasis’ state capitol further expressed influence from the desert landscape in its massing and layout. a continuation of his typical design language, the design was to be low, broad, horizontal — the architect decisively avoided a vertical tower — which ultimately defined the selected proposal. the few vertical elements in wright’s proposal included a set of radio and television broadcasting spires, expressing wright’s belief that these forms of communication were vital ‘to the social life of the people.’ the overall massing and layout was horizontal, with respect for the scale of the surrounding landscape, and the expansive valley that he believed the city of phoenix should be in unity and harmony with.

frank lloyd wright oasis frank lloyd wright oasis frank lloyd wright oasis frank lloyd wright oasis


frank lloyd wright oasis



project info:


project title: ‘oasis’ arizona state capitol proposal

architecture: frank lloyd wright

courtesy: frank lloyd wright foundation

location: phoenix, arizona

visualizations: david romero

  • It is a testament to Wright as a designer that this rendering doesn’t look dated. BRAVO!!

    Dr. Richard Torres
    Feb 26, 2021
  • Has anyone ever connected FLW’s capitol campus plan view with an aerial shot of the WW2 Thunderbird Field North of Glendale?
    The similarity is almost too close to eliminate thoughts that Wright must have either flown over the air field or seen photos of it. I grew up with vivid memories of the capitol drawings in the 50’s, as well as, living a bike ride from Thunderbird, but never saw the newly revealed plan view of the campus. Wright historians???

    Bob Crouch
    Dec 07, 2020
  • Let’s build it.

    José Iacoviello
    Nov 29, 2020
  • It would be worth EVERY SINGLE SILVER DIME SPENT! The vision carried forward and the additional artistic wealth it could only add to the beauty of Arizona and it’s beautiful cultural experiences for future generations. 😉

    Denise Beckman
    Nov 29, 2020
  • There’s no doubt that this is a Frank Lloyd Wright design. It looks very much like our treasured Marin County Civic Center.

    Nov 29, 2020

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