Fallingwater named a UNESCO heritage site

By Stephanie Farr STAFF WRITER

By Stephanie Farr STAFF WRITER

When it comes to UNESCO World Heritage sites, Pennsylvania is blowing it out of the water.

Fallingwater, the house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to be built over a Pennsylvania waterfall, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site on Sunday. It joins Independence Hall, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, as the second such landmark in Pennsylvania.

The Fallingwater home in Mill Run, about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh, is one of eight structures by Wright voted in Sunday by UNESCO’s World Heritage committee under the umbrella of “The 20th Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.” Other Wright-designed buildings on the list include the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and Unity Temple in Oak Park, Ill.

“These buildings reflect the ‘organic architecture’ developed by Wright, which includes an open plan, a blurring of the boundaries between exterior and interior and the unprecedented use of materials such as steel and concrete,” a news release on UNESCO’s website said.

Also voted in Sunday as a World Heritage site was Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene, or the area in Northeastern Italy where Prosecco is made.

With only 24 World Heritage sites in the United States and 1,121 around the world, Sunday’s designation made Pennsylvania one of the few states to have two UNESCO sites within its borders.

UNESCO — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — designates places as World Heritage sites because they “are of outstanding universal value to humanity” and should “be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy,” according to its website. World Heritage sites include everything from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to the Great Wall of China.

In 2015, Philadelphia became the first city in the nation to become a World Heritage City. To join the Organization of World Heritage Cities, a municipality must have had a notable impact on the world and be home to a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, only Philadelphia and San Antonio, Texas, have made the cut in the United States. sfarr@inquirer.com

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