Eight major works designed by Frank Lloyd Wright were listed alongside international treasures like the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Giza on the UNESCO World Heritage List on Sunday, the first recognition by the United Nations cultural organization of American modern architecture.
The announcement was made in Baku, Azerbaijan where the World Heritage Committee was meeting at the sites currently on the list, and 35 others that had been nominated. Inscribed as "The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright," the addition of eight of Wright's more recognizable designs, spanning the various American landscapes served as his inspiration.
The council “felt that Wright's contribution to modern architecture was too significant to have represented at only one building and requested that we undertake a serial nomination,” said Lynda Wagoner, a former director of Fallingwater and a founding member of the conservancy's board. Wagoner will now lead the Frank Lloyd Wright World Heritage Council, established to support coordinated conservation efforts at the eight World Heritage sites.
"These works exerted major influence on modern architecture in their open plans, abstraction of form, use of new technologies. Wagoner said.
The World Heritage Program was created in 1972. Before Sunday's announcement, it included more than 1,000 properties to be of outstanding value to humanity, ”according to the Unesco website.
The designation of the Wright properties followed the United States' withdrawal from UNESCO at the end of 2018. The move means the United States can no longer be represented on the World Heritage Committee, which determines which sites are added to, or removed from, the World Heritage List. Maintenance and preservation of individual sites is the responsibility of the host country.
The Wright designation does not mean that the eight sites will receive more resources or money for preservation efforts. But Jeff Goodman, vice president of communication and partnerships for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin West said that including Wright's name among the 24 World Heritage sites in the United States is bound to bring more visitors and visibility to all of the architect's existing work.
“We really believe that sharing Frank Lloyd Wright's work with more people around the world will make the world a better place,” he said. "He continues to teach us about not only how we relate to the world, and the impact we have on the world, but how we relate to each other."