In January, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) nominated ten Frank Lloyd Wright designed structures for inclusion on its list of world cultural heritage sites, an unparalleled honor. Wright is doubtlessly America's most famous architect. But who is number two?
I surveyed ten "archiphiles," a group of architects, planners,
architectural historians, and authors. Responses varied, from Canadian born Frank Gehry to Chinese born I.M. Pei, from Thomas Jefferson to modernist mad men.
The consensus number two with a whopping two votes: Henry Hobson Richardson (or H.H. Richardson), a giant of late 19th century architecture, progenitor of the Richardsonian Romanesque Style, which loosely reinterpreted Medieval characteristics.
Is there another American cultural form so beholden to the legacy of a single practitioner? Who would vie for the mantle of America's greatest painter, film director, fiction writer? Miles Davis, Ansell Adams, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley, Fred Astaire, none seem as peerless as Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright.
(Images are of FLW's Hollyhock House)