The planned site was a low sandy island that was washed over by winter tides, so the buildings were designed to be easily removed from their concrete slab foundations.
The tentlike structures themselves were designed with a combination of wood and canvas for the roof, canvas window flaps, and wood for the single-width walls.
Geometrically, the designs were derived from the square, as were many Frank Lloyd Wright designs. William Allin Storrer describes them as "looking like origami butterflies". Mr. Wright's drawings of the layouts and orientation of the buildings is shown in the sketch to the right.
No photos exist of the buildings, and it is actually uncertain if they actually were built. Some Wright scholars think they were, and some think they remained unbuilt. In either case, it is rather certain that nothing remains of them at the site.
The Ras-el-Bar structures were a predecessor to the temporary Ocotillo Camp structures that led to the establishment of Taliesin West, and also for the unbuilt resort San Marcos in the Desert.
The project has been designated S.223 in William Allin Storrer's system of tracking and numbering built Wright structures (see A Frank Lloyd Wright Companion). This complete guide to Mr. Wright's built work also contains a floor plan of a typical Ras-el-Bar beach cottage. The project has also been given the Taliesin (Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation) Wright opus designation T.2711.
Drawings by Frank Lloyd Wright of the project appear below (and to the right), reproduced here with permission of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Related Links and Books: (Frank Lloyd Wright, the Middle East, and Egyptian Architecture)
I would like to thank Margo Stipe of the FLLW Foundation for her assistance with permissions, and also Craig A. Finseth for the graphic of pyramids from which the title background was derived.
© Copyright 1998 Chris Miller