Eight buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, joining the Sydney Opera House, the city of Brasilia, and the Bauhaus School in Germany as modern architecture recognized as cultural icons.
The new World Heritage Site designation, entitled “The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright,” includes the Guggenheim Museum, Fallingwater and other private homes.
The World Heritage Committee members agreed these buildings by Wright deserve to be recognized alongside such sites around the world such as Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Egypt, and Grand Canyon National Park:
Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona – 1938
Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, California – 1919
Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago, Illinois – 1909
Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois – 1905
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City – 1943
Fallingwater in Mill Run in Mill Run, Pennsylvania – 1935/1938
Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin – 1936
Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin – 1911
These are the first works of modern architecture in the United States on the World Heritage List. The group forms the 24th World Heritage Site in the US of more than 1,000 sites worldwide.
“These works by Frank Lloyd Wright are highly valued, unique American contributions to the world’s heritage, and the recognition is deserved,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt when the decision was made by the World Heritage Committee during its 43rd session in Baku, Azerbaijan.
- Read my article on Azerbaijan, on Orbitz, from a recent visit.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 – 1959) is widely considered to be the greatest American architect of the 20th century.
Scholars and experts selected the group from more than 400 works designed by Wright between 1909 and 1959, 27 of which are National Historic Landmarks, to showcase how Wright’s unique approach influenced the course of architecture across the world.
The buildings are the most important and influential examples of Wright’s architectural solutions to the needs of Americans for housing, worship, work, and leisure. Drawing inspiration from global cultures, the buildings employ geometry and nature’s forms and principles as a basis and are highly accessible and appealing.
“A nomination with many properties like this is very complex to produce, and requires a huge investment of time and money,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “This work could not have been done without a strong partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and the contributions of the property owners.”
The Department of the Interior undertook the nomination with the full cooperation and active support of the property owners of the eight buildings, each of which has been identified as a National Historic Landmark, a designation made by the Secretary of the Interior.
The owners and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy cooperated to prepare the nomination in consultation with the National Park Service’s Office of International Affairs which is the principal technical agency for U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention.
The National Park Service manages all or part of 18 of the 24 World Heritage Sites in the United States.
All of the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings are owned and operated by local governments, private organizations, or individuals.
Inclusion of a site on the World Heritage List does not affect U.S. sovereignty or management of the sites, which remain subject only to U.S., State and local laws.
Detailed information on the World Heritage Program and the process for the selection of U.S. sites can be found at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/internationalcooperation/worldheritage.htm.
According to organization’s website, adding landmarks to the UNESCO World Heritage list “helps raise awareness among citizens and governments for heritage preservation,” and that “greater awareness leads to a general rise in the level of the protection and conservation given to heritage properties.”
Countries that house heritage sites are also eligible for funding from UNESCO to preserve them. All of the sites included “The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright” are already protected as National Historic Landmarks, and many are open to visitors.