The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, in partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Unity Temple Restoration Foundation, has launched a series of weekly virtual tours to your favourite Frank-Lloyd-Wright-designed buildings. While the tours focus on bringing education and escape to a global audience, for the Conservancy they are also an important appeal for support during the Covid-19 crisis.

Along with other institutions such as art galleries and libraries, many Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, of which many are UNESCO World Heritage sites, are now closed to the public, presenting the modern landmark’s with financial pressures and fears of being unable to resume operations post-crisis. While closures are absolutely crucial to the health of the public, the cultural loss during this period of time, and quite probably its aftermath, requires attention.

In a recent statement UNESCO has described the importance of culture to physiological health: ‘At a time when billions of people are physically separated from one another, culture brings us together. It provides comfort, inspiration and hope at a time of enormous anxiety and uncertainty.’

Barbara Gordon, executive director, Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, said: ‘It is precisely at this time, when so many are shut inside, that we need to experience beauty and inspiration. Wright’s works bring people together in harmony with the natural world, reminding us that we are all connected, even when we’re apart.’

Martin House interior
Inside the Darwin D. Martin House conservatory, part of a wider complex built between 1903 and 1905. Photography: Biff Henrich / IMG_INK. Image courtesy Martin House Restoration Corporation

While virtual tours, and platforms such as the UNESCO World Heritage Journeys in Europe, are important for the digital experience of architectural landmarks from anywhere in the world, the physical experience of architecture is unparalleled and crucial for the education of architects, students and the public.

There is a pressing demand for funding support across the cultural industries. In the US, institutions such as the Getty Trust, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts have stepped up to provide grants across the arts sector. In the UK, the National Lottery Heritage Fund has launched a £50 million emergency fund and put all new grant applications on hold, while the Architectural Heritage Fund is continuing to stand by it’s deadlines for existing grants.

So while these virtual tours are uplifting cultural journeys now democratically available to all to experience, they are also campaigns for these architectural treasures to stay in the cultural spotlight. §