Taliesin Slope Stabilization
Spring Green, Wisconsin
Taliesin Preservation, Inc., Eifler & Associates Architects
Taliesin Preservation, Inc. undertook a Master Plan for Taliesin East, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and school. Eifler & Associates Architects was the prime consultant, and Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc. (WLA) was the landscape architect for the master plan. The first priority, even before the Master Plan was complete, was the stabilization of the slope of the hill on which the buildings sit. Severe erosion, mudslides, and outright slope failure were occurring, and it became clear that this was compromising the safety and integrity and even existence of Taliesin, and that something needed to be done immediately to stabilize the slope and minimize additional damage and future risk.
The initial phase was preparation of a slope stabilization report. WLA was responsible for reviewing site history and existing slope conditions, investigating the reasons for the slope failure, analyzing alternative stabilization methods, including the use of vegetation and natural materials, and recommending an appropriate and effective treatment for slope stabilization and landscape restoration. Pursuant to review and approval of the report by the National Park Service, the team prepared construction documents for implementation.
Landscape improvements included removal of all invasive shrubs that shaded the slope and contributed to soil erosion; location and identification of large trees, in order to route the proposed underdrain system around their root zones; removal and pruning of dead and hazardous trees; removal of trees that conflict with historic vistas; re-grading, re-seeding, and installation of an erosion control blanket on areas of the slope that had failed or would be disturbed during construction; replacement of missing “historic trees” evident in the historic photographs as well as other new trees, to ensure a future stand of oaks and hardwoods; and coordination of engineering improvements so the slope would be stabilized in an environmentally sound and historically sensitive and appropriate way.