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Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West honored by UNESCO

By Octavio Serrano

The staff of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale is hoping tourism numbers will increase now that it and other buildings by the architect have been inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage List.

“The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation anticipates the World Heritage inscription will increase visitation and tourism to not only Taliesin, Taliesin West and the six other properties that were inscribed, but other Wright sites around the country,” says Jeff Goodman, the foundation’s vice president of communications and partnership.

The UNESCO is tasked with selecting cultural and natural heritage around the world to ensure their protection and preservation. Last month, the World Heritage Committee met in Baku, Azerbaijan, to inscribe Wright’s 20th century architecture, which includes eight major works spanning 50 years.

During his 70-year career, Wright designed 1,114 architectural works, 532 of which were built. The eight inscribed buildings are some that impacted modern architecture, Goodman says.

“These spaces were recognized for their outstanding universal value, through the way his architecture responds to functional and emotional needs, how the spaces are fundamentally rooted in nature, and the way in which his work is responsive to the evolving American experience, but is universal in its appeal,” Goodman says. “These ideas have played a significant role in the development and evolution of architecture.”

Goodman says Wright’s entry on the World Heritage List is the first modern architecture designation and is one of only 24 U.S. sites. The nomination was 15 years in the making, according to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. It was a collective effort of people who believe in the importance of honoring the roots of modern architecture.

Goodman says he wants guests to know this inscription is primarily honorary, but the foundation will need help from the public to preserve Wright’s story.

“The sites still depend on the support and generosity of the public to support ongoing preservation needs,” Goodman says. “In order to make sure these UNESCO World Heritage sites are around for future generations to experience Wright’s work and ideas, as stewards of the buildings, we must raise the funds necessary to preserve and maintain them long into the future.

“We hope this inscription continues to bring awareness and visibility to Wright’s work and further emphasize the importance of preserving Wright’s work and legacy for years to come.” ν