These 8 buildings by the American architect are the first examples of modern architecture in the United States to be added to the World Heritage list.
It is significant that Wright’s work was added to the World Heritage List, which is typically dominated by natural landmarks like the Grand Canyon and ancient sites like the Acropolis. In fact, the only other 20th-century architectural works to be previously inscribed include a collection of work by the Swiss French architect Le Corbusier that was added in 2016 and several sites from the 20th-century Bauhaus movement in Germany in 2017. Of the 24 UNESCO sites in the United States, this marks the first time modern U.S. architecture has received a designation.
The 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee continues until July 10, 2019, in Baku, Azerbaijan. So far this year, the convention has also awarded UNESCO World Heritage status to Italy’s Conegliano and Valdobbiadene hills , home to its sparkling wine prosecco, and the Buddhist temple complex of Bagan in Myanmar.
Wright was a prolific architect responsible for designing more than 500 public buildings and private homes in the United States in the first half of the 20th century, but these eight buildings were singled out for best reflecting the “organic architecture” developed by Wright, “which includes an open plan, a blurring of the boundaries between exterior and interior and the unprecedented use of materials such as steel and concrete,” according to a statement from UNESCO .
Combined as “The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright,” the other buildings in the site include the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois; Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago; Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin; Hollyhock House in Los Angeles; and the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin.
The United Nations’ cultural organization meets each year to determine which man-made buildings and areas of outstanding natural beauty will be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, which now includes more than 1,000 sites in 167 countries. In order to receive the coveted designation, each nominated site must be deemed to have “outstanding universal value” of historic, cultural, or environmental significance.
UNESCO recognized Frank Lloyd Wright on July 7 by adding eight of the American architect’s most iconic buildings—including Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona—to its World Heritage List.
Easily Wright’s most iconic work, this modern and contemporary art museum on New York’s Upper East Side is defined by its unique spiral shape that brings visitors upwards through the gallery toward a glass ceiling. Opened in 1959—the same year Wright died—the museum is open to the public year round for self-guided tours of the exhibitions. From $25 per person, guggenheim.org
Mill Run, Pennsylvania
Designed in 1935 as a weekend home for a prominent Pittsburgh family, Fallingwater’s most recognizable feature (pictured at top) is its sandstone terraces cantilevered over a waterfall on the property. Eventually opened to the public as a museum in 1964, it is considered to be one of the best examples of the way Wright’s organic style of architecture blended in with nature. Tours are available of the house between March 9 to December 31 and range from one-hour guided house tours to three-hour experiences that conclude with brunch or sunset hors d’oeuvres on the terrace on special dates in the summer and early fall. From $30 per person, fallingwater.org
Photo by Shutterstock Hollyhock House is the first UNESCO site in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles, California
Finished in 1921, the Hollyhock House is one of the first of many commissions Wright took in California. Built as a private home for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, the first UNESCO World Heritage site in Los Angeles completed a four-year $4.3 million renovation in 2015. A variety of tours—including self-guided and docent-led ones—are offered throughout the year. $7 per person, barnsdall.org
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