Ten buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York have been nominated for listed status to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage List. The buildings constitute the first modern architecture in the United States to be nominated to the UNESCO list. Other buildings include Wright’s iconic Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, and Taliesen West in Scottsdale, Arizona, as well as the Guggenheim a New York museum. If added to the World Heritage List, Wright’s buildings would join the ranks of important modern buildings like the Sydney Opera House, designed by Jørn Utzon, and the works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was completed in 1959 and was Wright’s final project. It is a singular space for the display of art and has become one of the most visited landmarks in New York City. The museum website has published a time line of the Frank Lloyd Wright building, detailing its commission in the 1940s and construction in the 1950s through its expansion in 1990s and significant renovation in the 2000s. Many exhibitions have used the unique space of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as a focal point, including the 2010 exhibition Contemplating the Void, which invited nearly 200 artists, architects, and designers to submit proposals for how they would engage its central void. In the 2013 exhibition James Turrell, the artist transformed the rotunda’s interior, recasting it as enormous volume filled with artificial and natural light for the site-specific work Aten Reign. Read more about the Frank Lloyd Wright building on the Guggenheim blog, including how concrete influenced its construction, the inspiration for its terrazzo floor, and the history of its central skylight.
Frank Lloyd Wright gained such cultural primacy for good reason; he changed the way we build and live. Designing 1,114 architectural works of all types—532 of which were realised—he created some of the most monumental and most intimate spaces in the United States. With a career that spanned seven decades before his death in 1959, Wright’s visionary work cemented his place as the American Institute of Architects’ “greatest American architect of all time.” Over half a century later, Wright remains relevant.
Photo: Workers perched on the Fifth Avenue façade during the Guggenheim’s construction. Page 35 of Wright’s building specifications stipulated, “All gun-placed concrete work shall be according to the best practices and the highest standards of the trade. Only qualified experienced operators shall be employed.” Solomon R. Guggenheim Image Archive, New York. Photo: William H. Short © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York