Frank Lloyd Wright’s impact on Arizona architecture goes on. A community going up on one of the last big developable parcels of land in Cave Creek has his influence all over it.
The 1,000-acre Cahava Springs will have 230 homes on its rolling desert hills topped with saguaros, so almost 80 percent of the community will be preserved open space.
The homes in Cahava Springs are designed by Scottsdale’s Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.
Renderings show the houses with straight lines and flat roofs designed to be part of the desert instead of placed on top of it, a classic Wright mantra.
Many natural materials are being used to build the homes, another one of the architect’s design necessities.
And one of Cahava Spring’s developers, Mark Stapp, has deep ties to Taliesin and Wright. The Arizona growth and development expert served as chairman of the board of Taliesin Architects for 10 years.
“Cahava Springs is designed to preserve a substantial amount of the environmentally-sensitive property,” the director of the Master of Real Estate Development program at Arizona State University told me. “The homes use the principles of organic architecture to take advantage of the natural setting of the desert.”
Stapp and his partner in Cahava Springs Dennis Mathisen started to develop the community at the end of the boom in 2007, but like all Valley growth then, it stalled with the recession and real-estate crash.
Back in the late 1920s, Wright’s first big Arizona project was to be a Biltmore-like resort in Chandler. But when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression hit, that project stalled.
One thing that Cahava Springs’ developers have that Wright didn’t is Arizona’s newest mechanism for funding development.
To pay for the Cave Creek community’s infrastructure, the developers created a special taxing district and completed a $22 million bond financing deal last week.
The Cahava Springs Revitalization District is the first private landowner to sell bonds for a development since Arizona legislation authorizing it passed in 2011.
Living in a Wright-inspired home surrounded by prime Arizona desert won’t come cheap. Prices in Cahava Springs will start at more than $800,000.
Architect and former Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture Dean Victor Sidy explained Cahava Springs homes won’t be the typical Valley house.
“We will be celebrating the connection between the future residents and the natural environment that will surround them,” he told me.
Stapp said Wright’s mantra of “Study nature. Love nature. Stay close to nature. It will never fail you,” will be a dominant part of Cahava’s development.
Wright held his own work in very high esteem, calling himself the “greatest living architect.” He gave Arizona an acclaimed style of design that endures today even with new development.
It would be interesting to hear what he would say about Cahava Springs, but then again he wasn’t known for being a particularly nice man.
What homebuyers are willing to pay to live there might be a better testament to Cahava Springs’ design.