Eight masterworks by US architect Frank Lloyd Wright — out of the 532 that were built — including the Guggenheim Museum in New York, were selected as World Heritage sites Sunday, a first in the field of architecture for the United States.
Wright, who died in 1959, was cited for his influential 20th-century designs that incorporated organic motives, blurred boundaries between the inside and outside, and made unprecedented use of steel and concrete. He’s widely credited as a pioneer in what’s known as “prairie” school of architecture — a style that emphasised horizontal lines, sturdy construction, and openness.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee agreed on the designation at a meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, along with the landscape of the Prosecco wine region in Italy.
The Wright-designed buildings chosen for the designation include Fallingwater, a spectacular house built in 1935 over a waterfall in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. The house is emblematic of Wright’s predilection for organic forms and structures synchronous with nature.
Another such example is the Guggenheim in New York — perhaps the architect’s best-known creation — which is famous for its spiral shape recalling a nautilus shell.
Other buildings designated World Heritage sites included the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin; the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois; the Fredrick C. Robie House in Chicago, Illinois; Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin; Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona; and Hollyhock House in Los Angeles.
“Together, the buildings showcase Wright’s influence on the course of architecture around the world,” the US State Department said in welcoming the honour.
The group joins 23 other World Heritage sites in the United States but is the first in the field of architecture.
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