Two spires on the Taliesin estate received necessary attention in August. A boom-lift bucket truck was rented to enable the preservation team to scrape and repaint the metal spire atop the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center hexagonal office as part of the countdown to the structure’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2017.
With the equipment on site, it was determined to make full use this resource once the Visitor Center project was complete —and so the preservation team routed the truck to Midway Barn to turn attention to the wooden spire that crowns the milk tower there. Wright, known for alternately for the breadth of his intellect and wry sense of humor, famously identified the elegant milk tower spire as a “tribute to the Guernsey Cow’s teat.”
The metal and wood spine of the spire was restored in place, and its decorative wooden fins, many of which had deteriorated, were replaced. The whole spire received a fresh coat of paint. The colorful string of spheres was also restored, with paint applied in accordance with the historic rainbow palette of colors.
This exuberant expression of Wright’s organic architecture has been described as a vertical release of tension that offers an uplifting visual contrast to the long horizontal planes that otherwise define the ship-like Midway Barn.