Frank Lloyd Wright buildings named as World Heritage sites

Hollyhock House is the first UNESCO site in Los Angeles

Eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings across the country have been officially designated as United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage sites.

Announced at UNESCO’s annual conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, the designated buildings include some of Wright’s most iconic creations such as Fallingwater and the Guggenheim Museum and lesser-known works in Wisconsin and Illinois. The buildings were submitted by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and span Wright’s illustrious 70-year career as an architect.

The Guggenheim Museum. Courtesy of The Guggenheim Museum

The Hollyhock House, which Wright designed for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall between 1919 and 1921, is the first UNESCO site in Los Angeles. As one of the United State’s most iconic architects of all time, Wright’s signature philosophy was based around buildings that fall naturally into their surrounding environment.

“It’s a phenomenal moment for L.A.,” Danielle Brazell, head of cultural affairs for the city of Los Angeles, told NPR. “We now have a World Heritage site in the middle of our city. It’s the highest recognition by an international body to acknowledge that Hollyhock House has universal value.”

Other designated Wright buildings include the Unity Temple and Frederick C. Robie House in Illinois as well as the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House in Wisconsin. Wright’s estate and architectural school — Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona — were also deemed worthy of the UNESCO designation.

Taliesin West. Taliesin West

“This recognition by UNESCO is a significant way for us to reconfirm how important Frank Lloyd Wright was to the development of modern architecture around the world,” Barbara Gordon, the president and executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, said in a statement. “Our hope is that the inscription of these eight major works also brings awareness to the importance of preserving all of his buildings as a vital part of our artistic, cultural and architectural heritage.”

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization first began in the 1950s as a way to recognize structures important to humanity and human culture. There are now over 1,000 designated around the world and the new Wright entrants now join the ranks of wonders like the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu and the Statue of Liberty.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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