By Jessica Lema
Photo courtesy of city of Scottsdale
The Organization of World Heritage Cities recently granted the city of Scottsdale membership among an elite group of more than 200 cities from around the world that are home to UNESCO World Heritage sites.
With this acceptance, the organization recognizes Scottsdale as the location of Frank Lloyd Wright’s desert home and laboratory, Taliesin West, and welcomes the city as an active participant in international efforts to protect and preserve the heritage of mankind.
“Scottsdale is proud to join the Organization of World Heritage Cities in solidarity with communities from around the world,” says Mayor David D. Ortega. “Taliesin West, truly exemplifies where exceptional design intersects with our Sonoran Desert environment, here in Scottsdale.”
Established in 1937, Wright’s winter home in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains was forged from the natural elements of the desert, with most of the labor done by the architect and his apprentices, making it one of his most personal works and a premier example of organic architecture.
It stands today as one of the regions most beloved attractions, with sprawling views of the Valley of the Sun, open to the public with tours and special events throughout the year.
Taliesin West was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, alongside seven other Frank Lloyd Wright sites, in 2019. The list recognizes natural and cultural sites that demonstrate significance and influence on a global scale.
“Frank Lloyd Wright’s work was added to the World Heritage List because it changed the way people design, build, and live throughout the world,” says Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
“Those of us who live and work in Scottsdale, and the visitors who come here, also know how his work shaped our community. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is pleased that the city now benefits as a World Heritage City because of Wright’s work at Taliesin West.”
The site has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1982 and was added to the Scottsdale Historic Register in 2006.
“Long ago, Frank Lloyd Wright saw the beauty and potential of Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert, and his influence on the city remains clear to this day. Taliesin West draws travelers from around the world to Scottsdale, and this recognition will further elevate Scottsdale’s status as a renowned destination where art, architecture and design are not only experienced, but created and celebrated,” says Experience Scottsdale President and CEO Rachel Sacco.
Mayor Ortega will serve as the city’s communication liaison with the OWHC, with the help of Tourism and Events Director Karen Churchard.