CHICAGO (AP) - Frank Lloyd Wright's innovative architecture designs still fascinate, from New York's circular, sculptural Guggenheim museum, to the famous Fallingwater house perched over a waterfall in the Pennsylvania woods.

WATCH: Frank Lloyd Wright home, Taliesin West, receives major recognition

Now the U.N. World Heritage committee has designated eight buildings designed by famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright as worthy of note and preservation.

Frank Lloyd Wright's work helped define 20th century architecture.

Wright was born in the 19th century on June 8 1867, in Richland Center, Wisconsin, when Queen Victoria was on the British throne.

A visionary, Wright was known for his use of unusual geometric shapes and for integrating his buildings into the landscape.

Fallingwater was built over a waterfall for the Kaufmann family, who owned a Pittsburgh department store. The house was built between 1936 and 1939.

It is now operated as a museum by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

It is perhaps Lloyd Wright's most celebrated building, alongside the Guggenheim museum in New York, and is one of his eight buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage designation.

Lynda Waggoner, Fallingwater Director Emerita, spearheaded the bid for UNESCO status.

Waggoner said it was very difficult to narrow down the UNESCO bid to just eight buildings, but said Fallingwater was always going to be part of the nomination.

"This was such a stunning building, a tour de force," says Waggoner of Fallingwater. "It re-establishes him. He appears on the cover of Time magazine in 1938, this man who is thought to be dead by some, with Fallingwater in the background, and it just captured the imagination of the world."

Fallingwater already receives thousands of visitors a year, but Waggoner says that the eight buildings being recognized by UNESCO will help elevate and bring attention to some of Wright's lesser known buildings.

"Fallingwater always already has a lot of visitors, I think all ships rise with the rising tide and the other sites will also benefit from the increased recognition of Frank Lloyd Wright," she adds.  

Wright pioneered the use of concrete in modern buildings, but many of his visionary uses for the material also make his buildings expensive to maintain as they age.

Fallingwater has no air conditioning and the moisture from the waterfall it's built on permeates every part of the complex.

As a result, the building is in need of constant and expensive upkeep.

"Fallingwater's reaching close to eighty five years old, it will soon be a century old. The complexities of caring for it will only get more extreme so we constantly need to call on our community which is people from around the world to help us preserve and share this place," says Fallingwater's current director, Justin Gunther.

The eight buildings that will become UNESCO sites are the Fallingwater house in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, Taliesin West house in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Frederick C. Robie house, Chicago, The Herbert and Katherine Jacobs house in Madison, Wisconsin, the Hollyhock house in Los Angeles, the Taliesin house in Spring Green, Wisconsin, the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.  

Wright scholar, John Lobell of Pratt Institute School of Architecture in New York, says Wright was a man of huge ego and even bigger ambition.

"Wright said, 'a great architect must be an interpreter of his time, his day, his age'," says Lobell. "Wright set himself two goals: to define or even create the 20th century and to redefine what we are as human beings."

Wright's ambition and sense of grandeur might best be shown by his last building, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.  He died six months before the building was completed in 1959 at the age of 91.

Widely criticised upon completion, the white, swirling concrete structure has become one of the most photographed buildings in New York.

Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, says he is delighted by the UNESCO designation.

Armstrong says that having the Guggenheim as a world heritage site shows how far modern architecture has come.

"Most encouraging is that people now recognise the value of modern architecture and the worthiness of its preservation,"

Collectively, the eight Wright buildings will become the 24th UNESCO designated site in the U.S.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app..


© 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Locations

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.