For the Gadling series “World Heritage Site new “Tentative List”: Places to Love” we are covering the 14 sites that have been submitted for possible inclusion as an official World Heritage Site in the United States. The sites will not be posted in order of importance or in the order they appear on the list.
Name of site: Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings (Part 1- There are ten buildings on this list, each deserving of mention. Therefore, we are presenting the ten buildings in two separate posts. Here are the first five.)
Location: Various locations in Arizona, California, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin
Reason for importance (in a nutshell): Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most prolific, important American architects designed more than 400 buildings over 60 years. His designs embodied the idea that buildings should incorporate nature and form including the spacial elements of the environment they inhabit. Wright’s buildings were created for a wide array of purposes from individual houses to museums to cathedrals. The 10 that were selected for the World Heritage Site Tentative List “represent the fullest and most compelling achievements of Wright as an architect as well as some of the greatest works of the art of architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”
Jamie’s Take: It’s Frank Lloyd Wright! He lived to be 91 and look what he created. Sheer magnificence. Looking at his buildings is like looking through a mega kaleidoscope for adults. See for yourself.
Unity Temple (1905-08) Considering this building was built more than 100 years ago, its cubist-style architecture is astonishing. The geometric lines and patterns and poured concrete walls were unprecedented for the time according to the temple’s Website. Although is still serves as a Unitarian Universalist church in Oak Park, Illinois with regular services on Sunday, there are public tours. For more details of the inside, click here.
Fallingwater: (1936-38) Years ago a friend of mine came back from a trip to Pennsylvania where a tour of Fallingwater was on the itinerary. She described in great detail its magnificence. Ever since, I’ve been interested in heading here. This once private home, now owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, is a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. Built over a waterfall, the house uses materials from the area. The floors are native sandstone. Even the furniture incorporates elements of the surrounding environment. Each detail from the chimney to the glass casement windows are Wright designed.
Robie House (1908-10), Also a once private house, the Robie House on the University of Chicago campus is considered one of the most important buildings of modern architecture. Wright designed the house to contrast to the flat landscape of the prairie on which it was built. Geometrically patterned glass windows are part of Wright’s Prairie style features, as are the tiers of balconies.
This building can be toured daily, although it’s closed in February on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Hollyhock House (1919-21) This once private home was Wright’s first project in Los Angeles. The design elements reflect the southern California location. Stucco and terracotta were used as building materials, and Wright also designed the furniture. Several doors and windows have elaborate, geometric patterned glass, a trademark of Wright’s work. After an extensive renovation, Hollyhock House has reopened for tours.
Taliesin (1911 and later) In Spring Green, Wisconsin, this was Wright’s home and studio. Along with the main house are several others. Wright used local limestone for expanses of the buildings’ exteriors. Today, this 600-acre estate is a tribute to Wright’s sensibilities.
Every detail from the roads to the dam to the pond to the covered passageways that connect the building are according to how Wright saw the interplay between buildings and environment. Tours of the estate start up again in April and continue until November, although more extensive tours happen beginning in May through the summer.
The first picture in this post is one of the windows of Robie House.