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Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Unveils UNESCO Plaque at Taliesin West

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Jan 15, 2020

In recognition of the inscription of a collection of eight Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation unveiled a new plaque at Taliesin West.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation unveiled a new plaque at Taliesin West to commemorate the site’s official inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Taliesin West was one of eight major Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings inscribed on the list in July 2019 by The World Heritage Committee as The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Taliesin West is the first and only cultural World Heritage Site in Arizona (The Grand Canyon is a natural UNESCO site) and the collection as a whole represents the first modern architecture designation in the United States.

Built in 1937, Taliesin West was Wright’s winter home and the bustling headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship. It was diligently handcrafted over many years into a world unto itself. Deeply connected to the desert from which it was forged, Taliesin West possesses an almost prehistoric grandeur. It was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it among the most person of the architect’s creations.

At the private plaque unveiling ceremony, Foundation President & CEO, Stuart Graff, gave remarks as well as Barry Wong, Executive Director of the State of Arizona’s Governor’s Office of Equal Opportunity, who attended on behalf of Gov. Doug Ducey.

Ducey commended the Foundation on accomplishing the designation and encouraged all Arizonans to join in celebrating this accomplishment. See the full commendation below. Kathryn Leonard, state of Arizona historic preservation officer, assisted Graff in the unveiling of the plaque.

The wall on which the plaques are placed was built by volunteers using desert masonry, a technique created by Wright and used by his apprentices that involves sourcing sand and stones from the surrounding desert.

The eight inscribed sites have played a prominent role in the development and evolution of modern architecture during the first half of the 20th century, and continue to inspire architecture today.

UNESCO considers the international importance of a potential World Heritage Site based on its “Outstanding Universal Value.”

Following the formal ceremony, the Foundation also invited 120 students from Tonalea K-8 and Echo Canyon, two local Title I schools from Scottsdale Unified School District, to experience Taliesin West through hands-on activities and an immersive tour of the campus.





This event was generously sponsored by the Salt River Project (SRP).