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Thursday, 16 September 2010 17:45

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Location: Mill Run, Pennsylvania, USA

Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright

Cost: $155,000

Website: www.fallingwater.com

 

"I think Wright learned the most important aspect of architecture, the treatment of space, from Japanese architecture. When I visited Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, I found that same sensibility of space. But there was the additional sounds of nature that appealed to me." - Tadao Ando

Frank Lloyd Wright's "most beautiful job" - Fallingwater is a house built over a waterfall. What is so impressive about the project is that it streches out over 30 waterfalls.

Fallingwater stands as one of Wright's greatest masterpieces both for its dynamism and for its integration with the striking natural surroundings. Wright's passion for Japanese architecture was strongly reflected in the design of Fallingwater, particularly in the importance of interpenetrating exterior and interior spaces and the strong emphasis placed on harmony between man and nature.

The extent of Wright's genius in integrating every detail of his design can only be hinted at in photographs. This organically designed private residence was intended to be a nature retreat for its owners. The house is well-known for its connection to the site: it is built on top of an active waterfall which flows beneath the house. The fireplace hearth in the living room integrates boulders found on the site and upon which the house was built — ledge rock which protrudes up to a foot through the living room floor was left in place to demonstrably link the outside with the in. Wright had initially intended that the ledge be cut flush with the floor, but this had been one of the Kaufmann family's favorite sunning spots, so Mr. Kaufmann suggested that it be left as it was. The stone floors are waxed, while the hearth is left plain, giving the impression of dry rocks protruding from a stream.

Integration with the setting extends even to small details. For example, where glass meets stone walls there is no metal frame; rather, the glass and its horizontal dividers were run into a caulked recess in the stonework so that the stone walls appear uninterrupted by glazing. There are stairways leading directly down to the stream, below the house. And in a connecting space which transitions from the main house to the guest and servant level a natural spring drips water inside, which is then channeled back out. Bedrooms are small, some with low ceilings to encourage people outward toward the open social areas, decks, and outdoors.

Bear Run and the sound of its water permeating the house, the home's immediate surroundings, and locally quarried stone walls and cantilevered terraces resembling the nearby rock formations are meant to be in harmony. The design incorporates broad expanses of windows and balconies which reach out into their surroundings. A glass encased interior staircase leads down from the living room and allows direct access to the rushing stream below. In conformance with Wright's views the main entry door is away from the falls.

On the hillside above the main house stands a three bay carport, servants' quarters, and a guest bedroom. These attached outbuildings were built two years later using the same quality of materials and attention to detail as the main house. The guest quarters feature a spring-fed swimming pool which overflows to the river below. After Fallingwater was deeded to the public the carport was enclosed at the direction of Kaufmann, jr., to be used by museum visitors to view a presentation on the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the home was entrusted to at the end or their guided tours. Kaufmann, Jr. designed its interior himself, to specifications found in other Fallingwater interiors designed by Wright.

Fallingwater was the family's weekend home from 1937 to 1963. In 1963, Kaufmann, jr. donated the property to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. In 1964 it was opened to the public as a museum.

Nearly six million people have visited the house since (as of January 2008). It currently hosts more than 120,000 visitors each year.

Information is used from: www.fallingwater.org

www.paconserve.org/

 

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Last Updated on Friday, 16 September 2011 08:41
 

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