Fallingwater Architecture

718 Words3 Pages
Fallingwater is considered by many scholars to be the greatest example of American architectural design. Frank Lloyd Wright designed Fallingwater in 1935 as a vacation home in Bear Run, Pennsylvania for the Kaufmann family. After thirty years into his career, Wright comes to a certain maturity in the architecture of Fallingwater. After creating enduring precedents for the modern office building, museum, place of worship and suburban house, Wright built Fallingwater under no precedence. Japanese influences and Wright’s evolution of his own prairie style are evident in the home’s structure and integration of indoor and outdoor space, but its originality seems almost out of the blue and leaves a legacy that is difficult to define. Long before Fallingwater, Wright had begun his own architectural practice in 1894. He had designed hundreds of buildings and had earned an international reputation. But by the mid-1920’s his career was in decline. When the Depression came in 1929, Wright was left with fewer commissions and faced financial bankruptcy. Determined to turn things around, Wright founded Taliesin Fellowship, an apprentice program where young, aspiring architects paid him to be able to learn both architecture and his principles of life. Although Fallingwater is Wright’s brainchild, the project was possible because of the patronage of his enthusiastic clients. Edgar and Liliane Kaufman were owners of Kaufman Department Store in nearby Pittsburgh. They were introduced as clients to Wright by their son Edgar Jr., whom had began apprenticing at Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship the previous year. During the Depression, Edgar Sr. was involved in New Deal public works programs for Pittsburgh. After visiting Taliesin, Kaufmann first corres... ... middle of paper ... .... In a sense, the entire house can be seen as a balancing act: between the outdoors and family space, between the smooth terraces and rough masonry mass, between the out-flowing space and the enclosed shelter. The land surrounding the waterfalls on Bear Run is a heavily forested area. It is jagged and precipitous with not a horizontal line in sight. Wright uses the repetitive rhythm of horizontal planes and lines to give the living spaces of the house an expansive feeling and adventurous freedom that Wright found fundamental to American life. These horizontal lines are made possible with the use of cantilevered terraces. The large, dark stone masonry counterbalances the cantilevered terraces by creating a sense of warmth, shelter, and refuge. Along with this sense of sanctuary, the steady sounds of the waterfalls underneath reinforce the quietness of the forest.
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