I'm surprised that the S.C. Johnson building isn't on the list and the Guggenheim is. I get that the Guggenheim is more famous and in a populated area, but the S.C. Johnson building is far more important architecturally
And his workshop is not included either? On purpose?
It might be of interest to us WH travellers and "FLW-ophiles" to pull together and document the history of this Nomination as a means of trying to understand the inclusions and exclusions and possible reasons for them. Herewith -
a. The Sep 1990 US T List included 6 separate entries for FLW buildings. This was relatively early in the history of WHS and Tentative Lists so the latest "custom and practice" regarding serial sites was not in place. The 6 sites were - Unity Temple (UT), Robie (R), Taliesin (T), Taliesin West (TW), Fallingwater (FW) and the FLW "Home and Studios" (FLW H+S)
b. In 1991 the US actually nominated T and TW but they were referred pending a study into Modern Architecture nominations
c. In Jan 2008 the US put forward a new T List which included a single FLW entry consisting of 10 buildings – UT, R, T, TW, FW, Hollyhock (HH), the SCJ Admin Complex (SCJ)
, Guggenheim Museum (GM), Price Tower (PT) and Marin County Civic Centre (MC). I.e. compared with the 1990 list the FLW H+S had been dropped and there were 5 additions. Of the additions - HH was a relatively early work (1918-21), 3 others were late works (Design dates - GM 1943, PT 1952, MC 1957). The SCJ spanned a longer period from the mid 30s through to mid 40s across its 2 elements.
d. Sometime between Jan and Aug 2012 the Jacobs House (JH) was added to this T List entry, thus increasing it to 11 buildings. This was another "Mid career" building designed 1936. The addition wasn't publicised via a renewed date for the T List entry but just "appears" (source – Wayback Machine) - but a good "late addition" as it survived through to inscription!
e. However, the July 2016 nomination only included 10 buildings and excluded SCJ even though the T List has, until the present, continued to include 11 buildings including SCJ.
f. The 2019 nomination is for 8 buildings with PT and MC having been dropped from the 2016 nomination.Looking just at SCJ
, there was, as early as 2008, clearly an intention to include it – but it had already been excluded by 2016 without adverse comment in the evaluation of that nomination. This year's revised nomination evaluation includes the following comment – "Buildings that may be considered for a future extension to the nomination are ....... S.C. Johnson Administration and Building and Research Tower
" and "ICOMOS encourages the State Party to proceed to the extension of the series in the future, when the conditions for the additional components are established.
This latter comment would seem to imply that there is some impediment to the inclusion of SCJ. What might it be? A major issue regarding the non inscription of sites in the US has been the "power" given to private ownership which effectively prevents the State from limiting the use of property via Inscription if the owner doesn't agree. The selected buildings are all owned either by the Government (HH), a single private individual (JH) or a non-profit organisation (all the others). SCJ alone belongs to a Company – privately held by the Johnson family. The 2 sites removed since 2016 are Government (MC) and Non profit (PT). I wonder if there was some problem in getting the Johnson family to agree to the restrictions over the use of the buildings and surrounding land which would inevitably follow a WHS inscription?
I note that ALL 11 T List components of the serial property are listed on the "National Register of Historic Places
" and recognized as "National Historic Landmarks
". This is presented as being "the highest possible national protection
" and sounds "great"! Nothing more would be needed surely? However, on looking up what it means in practice, it appears that the designation only "affects actions resulting from decision-making on a Federal level
" - not in itself a very strong restriction!! As ICOMOS notes "The protective measures for each component of the series have been set out in the nomination dossier in detail. These comprehensive (but disparate measures) include conservation procedures, the designation of Historic Districts and Historic Landmark status, municipal zoning ordinances, covenant agreements, historic/cultural monument protection ordinances, charters, as well as deed restrictions and trust agreements
". Perhaps SCJ doesn't have strong enough versions of the latter and its owners were just not prepared to agree to further restrictions? I can't find anything on the Web which points to a reason for the exclusion of FCJ when the US had originally (2008) wanted to include it and ICOMOS is clearly positively inclined towards it - can anyone else?
Another possibility is that SCJ has lost a degree of authenticity during its use as a company HQ across the decades with the changes and renovations which will have occurred. If that were the case ICOMOS would hardly have recommended its future inclusion? In fact ICOMOS has been remarkably tolerant of such alterations- "modern buildings have been the object of extensive restoration works, including replacement of original components parts, in order to respond adequately to functional requirements or adaptation to new uses
" and "component sites present an acceptable degree of authenticity; the changes and replacements of material component parts must be understood as a means to keep their forms and uses
Regarding the non inclusion of FLW's house and workshop
as raised by Zoe. It appears that the US recognised as early as the revised T List of 2008 that the nomination of FLW buildings needed be far more than a homage to the great man. "Associative" sites such as his Workshop were never going to cut it unless they added something of OUV. It has taken the US some time to move away from "hero based" nominations (Washington's House/Farm??!!) and even the 2016 nomination failed largely because "Currently the only link put forward in the nomination dossier is that of the architect. It is places that are inscribed on the World Heritage List for the ideas and associations that they convey
". The Workshop would not have been a good addition in the face of such comments!
Incidentally - the inscription of Unity Temple (UT), Robie (R), Taliesin (T), Taliesin West (TW), Fallingwater (FW) takes place almost 29 years after they first appeared on a T List!!! This seems a long time and leads me to wonder what the "record" is for length of time between first appearance on a TL and Inscription??? Perhaps we should have a "Connection" which includes the longest examples?? Greater than 25 years??? Depends on how many would be picked up I guess. ELS
- can you analyse the List for length of time between T List appearance and inscription? We have the data for most cases if not 100%? There may be "problems" over "splittings" and "amalgamations" - but it would provide a good "starter"