8 frank lloyd wright buildings named UNESCO world heritage sites

8 frank lloyd wright buildings named UNESCO world heritage sites

eight of frank lloyd wright’s major works have officially been inscribed to the UNESCO world heritage list by the world heritage committee. the inscription marks the first modern architecture designation on the UNESCO world heritage list in the united states.

8 frank lloyd wright buildings named UNESCO world heritage sites falling water house

falling water house
image via fallingwater.org



the collection of buildings, formally known in the nomination as the 20th-century architecture of frank lloyd wright, span 50 years of wright’s influential career. the inscribed sites include unity temple, the frederick c. robie house, taliesin, hollyhock house, fallingwater, the herbert and katherine jacobs house, taliesin west, and the solomon r. guggenheim museum.

frank lloyd wright unesco world heritage list

unity temple, oak park, illinois (constructed 1906-1909)
image courtesy of the unity temple restoration foundation



it reflects the ‘organic architecture’ developed by wright, as seen in wright’s design of fallingwater in 1935, a house built partly over a waterfall in rural southwestern pennsylvania. the architecture features materials, colors and design motifs all derived from the natural features of its woodland surroundings.

frank lloyd wright unesco world heritage list

the solomon r. guggenheim museum, new york (constructed 1956-1959)
image courtesy of the solomon r. guggenheim museum

thumb image: fallingwater, mill run, pennsylvania (constructed 1936-1939)
image courtesy of the western pennsylvania conservancy



wright also incorporated organic form into his architecture for the the guggenheim museum, which navigated its visitors down a gently spiralling ramp after taking an elevator to the top of the building. for more information on each site, see our detailed report on the nomination here.

frank lloyd wright unesco world heritage list

the herbert and katherine jacobs house, madison, wisconsin (constructed 1936-1937)
image by joe koshollek



‘the galleries were divided like the membranes in citrus fruit, with self-contained yet interdependent sections,’ it reads on the guggenheim website. ‘the open rotunda afforded viewers the unique possibility of seeing several bays of work on different levels simultaneously.’

frank lloyd wright unesco world heritage list

the frederick c. robie house, chicago, illinois (constructed 1910) 
image by nick abele



‘each of these buildings offers innovative solutions to the needs for housing, worship, work or leisure,’ wrote members of the world heritage committee in a press release announcing the designation. ‘wright’s work from this period had a strong impact on the development of modern architecture in europe.’

unesco world heritage list

hollyhock house, los angeles, california (constructed 1918-1921)
image by joshua white



‘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,’ says barbara gordon, executive director of the frank lloyd wright building conservancy.

unesco world heritage list

taliesin west, scottsdale, arizona (begun 1938)
image by andrew pielage (also main image)



‘there are nearly 400 remaining structures designed by wright. 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.’


‘all communities where a wright building stands should appreciate what they have and share in the responsibility to protect their local—and world—heritage.’


the group of wright sites join an existing list of just 23* sites in the united states of the 1,092* world heritage sites around the world. the nomination was a coordinated effort, which took more than 15 years of extensive collaboration, led by the frank lloyd wright building conservancy with each of the nominated sites as well as independent scholars.


project info


architect: frank lloyd wright

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