News / Architecture

Guggenheim New York becomes Unesco World Heritage site

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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York by Frank Lloyd Wright
Photo: Kai Pilger

Eight buildings designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright have been added to the Unesco World Heritage site list, including New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The entry, grouped as The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, is the first recognition of American modern architecture by Unesco, and commemorates only the third named architect on the list.

The eight buildings are all situated in the USA, and also include private houses such as Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House in Wisconsin and Hollyhock House in LA. Also featured are the buildings that housed Wright’s architecture school Taliesin – cited as a source of inspiration for Kengo Kuma in our recent interview with him.

Unesco states that the buildings reflect the “organic architecture” developed by Wright, featuring “an open plan, a blurring of the boundaries between exterior and interior and the unprecedented use of materials such as steel and concrete.”

“Each of these buildings offers innovative solutions to the needs for housing, worship, work or leisure. Wright’s work from this period had a strong impact on the development of modern architecture in Europe.”

Le Corbusier remains the most prevalent architect on Unesco’s World Heritage map, with buildings in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, India, Japan marked for their importance. Architect Victor Horta is also noted for his Art Nouveau townhouses in Belgium.

The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright was one of only two entries this year by Unesco to the growing list; the other was north-eastern Italy’s Prosecco vineyards, Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene.

This marks the successful end to a 15-year campaign by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy to feature the architect’s work on Unesco’s roster.

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Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright
Photo: David Mark