Wright World Heritage Nomination Update

We have news to report on the U.S. nomination of 10 Frank Lloyd Wright sites to the UNESCO World Heritage List. After meeting in Istanbul the weekend of July 16, 2016, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided to “refer” the Wright nomination, meaning some revision and supplementary information will be required by the committee for the nomination to be considered in a future year.

The decision—made the day after an attempted military coup in Turkey interrupted the UNESCO meeting—is an encouraging one. There was strong general sentiment among the Committee members that the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright is globally important and should be recognized for its “outstanding universal value.” While the Conservancy and the 10 Wright sites involved in this nomination would obviously have liked to have seen the 10 sites inscribed this year, “serial” nominations involving more than one architectural work are highly complex, and requiring further refinements to the nomination is not uncommon. This year UNESCO inscribed 17 works by Le Corbusier to the list after the nomination was reworked multiple times.

Our next step is to consult with the 10 Wright sites and our nomination partners at the National Park Service, the principal technical agency for U.S. participation in the World Heritage program, to discuss how best to approach the revisions and begin assembling the additional information needed. At this point it is not possible to say exactly how long that process will take, or in what year a revised nomination will be considered again by the World Heritage Committee. Several representatives from Wright sites were in attendance at the Istanbul meeting.

The full nomination book, Key Works of Modern Architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright, is available for download here.

Posted on July 18, 2016

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