Senior Tourists Applaud Frank Lloyd Wright World Heritage Site Nomination

Jun 6th, 2011 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

As a tour guide at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, I have come to learn that there are ten sites that Mr. Wright designed and built that are now up for World Heritage recognition.  World Heritage sites are decided upon by UNESCO.

There are 192 countries in the world and most all have such sites.  Under this rubric we find major world sites such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Canyon, the Pyramids in Egypt and a host of other famous sites.  I wish to share with you a series of sites that are now being considered to add to their listings.  Frank Lloyd Wright was responsible for their construction.

Ten properties are proposed as a serial nomination:  Unity Temple, Oak Park, Illinois;  Frederick C. Robie House, Chicago, Illinois; Hollyhock House, Los Angeles, California;  Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin; Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania;  S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc., Administration Building and Research Tower, Racine, Wisconsin;  Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona;  Price Tower, Bartlesville, Oklahoma;  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York;  Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, California.

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Unity Temple (1905-08) has exposed concrete walls that define a series of geometric units that appear to be independent of one another and interpenetrate each other in both vertical and horizontal directions.  It is comprised of a cube and a
rectangular parallelepiped, linked by an entrance foyer.

Robie House (1908-10), exemplifies Wright’s “Prairie” houses, the horizontality of whose designs were intended to complement the flat and expansive prairie landscape.  Its shifting planes and abstract masses drew the attention of European modernists.

Hollyhock House (1919-21) is a dramatic expression of Wright’s approach to creating an architecture for a southern California setting.  The design seamlessly melds exterior and interior living space via terraces for each room and an intricate circulation pattern.

Taliesin (1911 and later) was Wright’s long-time home and studio.  Rebuilt and expanded by Wright after two major fires, it is closely integrated into the hillside.  It is part of 600-acre estate in rural Wisconsin that includes a number of other
structures designed by Wright; the landscaped grounds, roads, dam and pond are all part of the overall composition and setting.

Fallingwater (1936-38), a house whose reinforced concrete floor slabs are cantilevered over a small waterfall in rural western Pennsylvania, is also noted for its intimate relationship to its natural setting and for its striking walls of roughly laid stone.

S.C. Johnson and Son, Inc. buildings (1936-39; 1943-50) occupy a city block and are the corporate
headquarters of the original company that commissioned them.

Taliesin West (1937-1940) was Wright’s low slung winter home in the Arizona desert on the outskirts of Scottsdale, as well as his architectural school and studio until his death in 1959.  It remains in the hands of the Taliesin Fellowship.

The Price Tower (1953-56), Wright’s only free-standing skyscraper and tallest built structure, uses a central mast from which the 19 floors are cantilevered, a concept that he developed in the late 1920s for an unbuilt project in New York.

The Guggenheim Museum (1956-59) helped define a new form of museum architecture.  The fusion of spatial drama with the spiral form represents a culmination of Wright’s ideas of organic architecture.

Marin County Civic Center (1960-69) was the last major work of Wright’s career and the only one built for a government entity.  In its setting, use of materials, and melding of exterior and interior space, it reflects Wright’s ideas of organic architecture as it evolved through his long career.

Enjoy each of these sites are they are individually phenomenal. I hope that you will be able to visit as many as possible and to put each on your “bucket list.” jeb



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