Thesis: Zhen Ni

Thesis Ni

Thesis: Zhen Ni

In-Situ Testing of Field Diagnostic Methods for the Wood Components at Taliesin West

Situated within the desert of Scottsdale, Arizona, Taliesin West served as Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and school for the Taliesin Fellows from 1938 to 1959. As an experimental design laboratory, Wright trained apprentices by enlisting them to construct and continually modify the site over the course of twenty years. The complex today continues to operate as a museum under the stewardship of The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation who is currently in partnership with The University of Pennsylvania to study and address problems of wood deterioration seen throughout the site. This thesis seeks to document the efficacy and limitations of different in-situ diagnostic methods for detecting wood decay, including resistograph drilling, moisture content mapping, thermography and hand probing. The instrument field testing was conducted at three locations that contain Wright’s iconic whirling arrow design as part of both structural and ornamental wood components of the office, drafting studio and Garden Room. Data sets of each these metrics have been overlaid and evaluated with the intent to provide a sequence of combined diagnostics for future assessment and monitoring of the site.This research aims to service the sustainability of the compound by informed stewardshipwhile providing new insights and means of field diagnostics for the conservation of wooden built heritage.

Taliesin West
Zhen Ni
Working on section of roof at Taliesin West
Zhen Ni
Wood elements at Teliesin West
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Preservation work in progress on roof at Teliesin West
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Analysis of wood elements at Teliesin West
Zhen Ni