The United States of America has played a pivotal role in the development of the World Heritage Convention. This important work gave birth to the World Heritage List. The World Heritage List is managed by the World Heritage Committee, an independent body under the umbrella of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list highlights the world’s most outstanding cultural and natural properties. It is based upon the idea that some places are so important to the natural world or to the development of human culture that they have special value on a universal basis and should be recognized and protected as such. The program has the participation of 191 countries. As of 2015, there are 1031 properties from 163 countries. Inclusion on the World Heritage List is prestigious and highly productive towards the preservation of universally important sites, helping save sites for the present and future world citizenry.
During its 1978 meeting in Washington D.C., the World Heritage Committee inscribed the first twelve properties onto the World Heritage List. The United States was honored to have two properties on the inaugural list: Yellowstone National Park and Mesa Verde National Park. The United States currently has twenty-three sites on the World Heritage List. The sites include Yosemite National Park, the Statue of Liberty, and Taos Pueblo.
On January 30, 2015, US Secretary of the Interior submitted for consideration to UNESCO, Key Works of Modern Architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright, ten buildings thought to be most iconic, representative, fully realized, and innovative of his works. Located in seven states across the continental United States, and designed over a span of more than fifty years, they respond to periods of dramatic cultural and technological changes with distinctive and highly original modern forms. Planned for a range of urban, suburban, and rural environments and for clients from a variety of backgrounds, these works–whether for housing, work, worship, cultural, or civic activity–embody a singular vision of architecture as space ideally suited for human use, rich in emotion and sensitive to their surroundings. Together they show varied illustrations of “organic architecture” in their abstraction of form, use of new technologies and masterful integration of space, materials, and sites. These masterworks, particular to Wright’s vision, fused a variety of influences in a way that left a powerful impact on global architecture.in the twentieth century.
Joining Price Tower in a serial nomination of ten buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) are Fallingwater, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Marin County Civic Center, Taliesin, Taliesin West, the Robie House, Unity Temple, the Jacobs I House, and Hollyhock House. The Wright nomination spans work produced by the architect from 1905 through 1958.
The nomination was spearheaded by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC), the international preservation organization whose mission is to facilitate the preservation and maintenance of the remaining structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright through education, advocacy, preservation easements, and technical services. Work on the nomination began in 1991, two of the ten properties included in this nomination, Taliesin and Taliesin West, were nominated to the World Heritage List, and it was International Council on Monuments and Sites’ (ICOMOS) request that a more comprehensive approach to Wright’s body of work be undertaken in the content of contemporary architecture as a whole. It was the FLWBC efforts to assemble an advisory committee of leading Wright scholars and a restoration architect to methodically select a small group from among nearly 400 existing Wright works. The resulting list of ten, they felt, best illustrated the creative genius and global impact of this architecture and wholly exemplifies the qualities that embody the World Heritage criteria.
In order for each of the 10 nominated Frank Lloyd Wright properties to be inscribed on the World Heritage List, each site must first meet rigorous US and World Heritage criteria, including National Historic Landmark status (Price Tower achieved in 2007) and a systematic plan for the preservation, maintenance, governance, and perpetual protection of the historic qualities of the site.
Price Tower and the other nine nominated properties are cresting the final summit towards meeting these requirements, and inscription onto the World Heritage Site list is expected by 2016.