Frank Lloyd Wright is one of our favorite mid-century architects, and the Falling Water House is possibly his most notable work. Let’s get into it!
After having talked about Mies van der Rohe and his mid-century symbol The Farnsworth House, today we are focusing on what is presumably one of the most famous houses in the entire world. The Falling Water House by Frank Lloyd Wright is open to the public for visitation, but if you can’t visit just yet, get to know it by scrolling through our post. Have fun!
The Falling Water was built in 1935, commissioned to the renowned architect by a prominent Pittsburgh couple, Edgar and Liliane Kaufmann, that were known for their distinctive sense of style and taste. The result? One of the most famous houses in the four corners of the planet.
“Great architecture, like any great art, ultimately takes you somewhere that words cannot take you at all. Fallingwater does that the way Chartres Cathedral does that.”
The couple met Frank Lloyd Wright the year before its construction. After having established their shared love for nature, they commissioned the architect to build a Summer home that was to serve as the family’s weekend retreat, in Bear Run, PA. Wanting to honor the family’s love for nature, and determined to incorporate his mid-century design into the stream that ran in the forest, Wright decided to build the house in a way that would celebrate the landscape, at the same time he found a way for the Kauffman’s “to live with the waterfall…as an integral part of [their] lives.”
Fallingwater is Wright’s crowning achievement in organic architecture and the American Institute of Architects’ “best all-time work of American architecture.”
As for the Falling Water architecture, Wright “anchored a series of reinforced concrete “trays” to the natural rock.” The American architect found a way to harmoniously blend the rock formations with the local sandstone he chose to build the Kaufmanns’ weekend retreat. This ended up creating a seemingly floating effect above the stream, which ultimately was what made this Frank Lloyd Wright house so famous.
If you decide to visit the Falling Water House, you will find that in the first-floor entry there is a living room and a dining room that merge to create a spacious open concept. There is also a hatch door in the living room that opens to a suspended stairway that goes down to the stream. Three years after its conception, the couple that had first commissioned the house asked Wright to design additional guest quarters, which were set into the hillside directly above the main house and linked by a covered walkway.
It was finally in 1963 that the Kaufmanns decided to donate their property to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, together with an additional 1,543 acres of surrounding land! This made way for the museum to open just one year after that – in 1964 -, which is still open to the general public, and has since hosted more than five million visitors!
You can know more about the Falling Water House and visitation hours here.
Photos © Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
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