World Heritage Site new “Tentative List”: Places to Love: Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings (part 1)

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.

Number 4

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.

New “Tentative List” of sites in the U.S. being considered for World Heritage site distinction

The new “Tentative List” of the 14 cultural, historic and natural landmarks in the United States deserving of UNESCO World Heritage site consideration was officially unveiled in January, but the push to get support is beginning this month. The list was to be submitted to UNESCO World Heritage Centre by February 1, according to the press release we received from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

In the effort to do our part to help Friends of World Heritage get the message out about this list, as posted earlier, we’re highlighting the 14 sites throughout February. The process of becoming an official UNESCO World Heritage Site is a lengthy one, much longer than the month of February, but the month of love seems to be a good time to send some love in the direction of these worthy places. Regardless of which ones make the official list, each deserve recognition.

Stay tuned throughout the month as we highlight these places that tell the story of the United States in a variety of ways. As cliche as it sounds, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps you’ve already been to some of them and you have your own impressions that you can add to ours. At the end of the month, there will be a contest, so keep track.

To warm up, guess which one of the fourteen sites this photograph highlights? Then continue to the next page for the new “Tentative List” for the United States. (We’ll be covering sites from other countries as well, like we’ve done in the past, but this month we’re concentrating on these 14.)

1. Civil Rights Movement Sites, Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama. This site links three locations of significance to the Civil Rights Movement. They are the three historically African-American churches: Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery and the Bethel Baptist and 16th Street Baptist Churches in Birmingham.

2. Dayton Aviation Sites. Four sites associated with the Wright Brothers’ and flight are included. All are in and around Dayton and were significant in the “pioneering efforts in human flight.”

3. Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, Ohio. Nine archeological sites containing more than 40 monumental ceremonial earthworks that date back to the Native American Ohio Hopewell culture during the Woodland Period (1,000-2,000 years ago).

4. Jefferson (Thomas) Buildings (Poplar Forest and Virginia State Capitol), Virginia. These two buildings will be added to the Jefferson buildings already part of the World Heritage listing. Monticello and the University of Virginia are on the list.

5. Mount Vernon, Virginia. George Washington’s home and its gardens.

6. Poverty Point National Monument and State Historic Site, Louisiana. Constructed 1700 – 1100 years ago, this may be the “remains of the largest hunter-­gatherer settlement that has ever existed.”

7. San Antonio Franciscan Missions, Texas. Five Spanish Roman Catholic missions that include 80 or more structures built from “1724 to 1782 on “open village” plans within walled compounds.” They highlight the influence of Spanish colonialism.

8. Serpent Mound, Ohio. This is already a state monument in Ohio and is “the largest documented surviving example of a prehistoric effigy mound in the world.”

9. Wright (Frank Lloyd) Buildings, Arizona, California, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. This is another multiple places historic site. These are ten properties that best represent the range of Frank Lloyd Wright ‘s work. The architect created 400. Getting the list down to 10 must have been daunting.

10. Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Hawaii. “1,200-mile-long string of islands and adjacent waters represents the longest, clearest, and oldest example of island formation and atoll evolution in the world.” The islands are also culturally important because 1,000 ago people lived here.

11. Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, American Samoa. This is refuge houses a coral reef ecosystem in an eroded volcanic crater.

12. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. Consists of the Okefenokee Swamp is “one of the world’s largest naturally driven freshwater ecosystems.” The diversity of habitats and flora and fauna is extensive.

13. Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. Has large deposits of petrified wood that date back to the Late Triassic Epoch, 205-225 million years ago. There are also imprtant fossils including those of dinosaurs.

14. White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. Acres and acres (176,000 worth) of gypsum sand dunes, the “best protected surface deposit of gypsum sand” in the world.

** The photo is of the Hollyhock House, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s creations. This one is in Los Angeles, California.