Taliesin West among 10 Wright properties up for World Heritage List

FLW-22Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has announced the United States is nominating a group of 10 buildings in seven states designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright for inclusion on the World Heritage List.

The World Heritage List recognizes the most significant cultural and natural sites on the planet, according to a press release.

“Through its World Heritage Sites the United States can share with the world the remarkable diversity of our cultural heritage as well as the beauty of our land,” Secretary Jewell said in a prepared statement.

“Frank Lloyd Wright is widely considered to be the greatest American architect of the 20th century and his works are a highly valued and uniquely American contribution to the world’s architectural heritage. World Heritage Sites draw visitors from around the world, providing not only prestige to local communities but also a boost to their economies.”

The nominated group, entitled “Key Works of Modern Architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright,” consists of:

  • Unity Temple in Oak Park, Ill.
  • Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago, Ill.
  • Taliesin in Spring Green, Wis.
  • Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Fallingwater in Mill Run, Penn.
  • Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House in Madison, Wis.
  • Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City
  • Price Tower in Bartlesville, Okla.
  • Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, Calif.

This would be the first World Heritage listing for the United States in the field of modern architecture. The Wright works would join the Sydney Opera House, the city of Brasilia and the Bauhaus School in Germany as examples of modern architecture recognized on the list.

FLW-11The nomination will be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in the summer of 2016.

If approved by the World Heritage Committee, it would join 22 sites in the United States already inscribed on the World Heritage List. The most recent U.S. site is the Poverty Point State Historic Site in Louisiana, an archeological site that was inscribed in 2014.

The UNESCO World Heritage List was created as part of the World Heritage Convention, of which the United States was the prime architect.

It is an international treaty for natural site conservation and cultural site preservation proposed by President Richard M. Nixon in 1972. The United States was the first nation to ratify it.

FLW-09There are 1,007 sites in 161 of the 191 signatory countries. The list includes such iconic places as the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon National Park and the Statue of Liberty National Monument in the United States.

The Department of the Interior is undertaking the nomination with the full cooperation and written support of the property owners of each site.

Each of the properties is designated as a National Historic Landmark. The owners and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy prepared the nomination in consultation with the National Park Service’s Office of International Affairs, the principal technical agency for the U.S. Government’s participation in the Convention.

Inscription as a World Heritage Site does not impose any legal restrictions on property owners or neighbors of sites, nor does it give the United Nations any management authority or ownership rights in U.S. World Heritage Sites, which continue to be subject only to existing federal and local laws.

Editor’s note: The above photographs are provided courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

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