Tuesday, February 6, 2007
I'd loved Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural design since childhood, and this building was no exception. Measuring 300 feet long by 250 feet wide and 80 feet high, this final public commission by Wright, also features 50 concrete columns that support the roof and an architectural pattern of interlocking circles.
The auditorium opened in 1964, 25 months after the first spade of earth was turned, and following the deaths of Wright and ASU President, Dr. Grady Gammage. It seats more than 3,000 people and has hosted events as diverse as Broadway musicals such as Rent to organ recitals, lectures and the final debate of the 2004 presidential election.
But this architectural showpiece is reputed to be on the ASU campus only because of a gambling debt. According to legend, Wright and then president, Gammage, were not only good friends but also gambling buddies. The story goes that Wright originally created this design as an opera house for Baghdad, Iraq. However, when Wright ran out of funds, he put the opera house blueprints down as collateral. Wright lost the bet, and Gammage gained a signature structure for his desert campus.
How I wish I could have seen the look on Wright’s face as he handed Gammage the blueprints…
Sunday, February 4, 2007
It only takes a few hours for us to travel I-35 from our home in the
At 2 p.m. on a steamy afternoon the sky grows black as midnight, lashing the landscape with sheets of rain that are so dense you can’t see the road more than one car length before the windshield. Seemingly endless banks of angry clouds rise from the horizon and brilliant jagged lightning rips through the sky. Each of these powerful storms may emerge or calm down within several hours or several minutes, creating a predictable path of destruction or surprising gift of nature in its wake.
During one trip to
But weeks later, when I finally developed the film, I found a perfect photograph of the spectacular light shaft – our own miracle on I-35.