Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright

Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright

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     Falling Water’s plans all came about when the architect, Frank Lloyd Wright was born, Jun 8, 1867. Frank was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin. Wright designed Fallingwater in 1935. At his death in 1959, he had built more than 400 buildings. Wright’s most famous house was designed and built for the Pittsburgh Kaufman family, for a weekend retreat.
     The natural wonder Fallingwater is recognized as architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s most acclaimed and famous works. In 1991, a poll of members of the American Institute of Architects voted Wright’s Fallinwater the best all-time work of American Architecture. Fallingwater opened a new chapter in American architecture and Wright became the first and foremost architect of houses. Fallingwater is known for its simplicity. This is not a skyscraper, it is a home situated in a remote section of Western Pennsylvania, in Ohiopyle, (or called Bear Run). In a talk to the Tallies Fellowship Frank Lloyd Wright said of the house; “Fallingwater is a great blessing - one of the great blessings to be experienced here on earth. I think nothing yet ever equaled the coordination, sympathetic expression of the great principle of repose where forest and stream and rock and all the elements of structure are combined so quietly that really you listen not to any noise whatsoever although the music of the stream is there. But you listen to Fallingwater the way you listen to the quiet country.”
     Wright designed Fallingwater in 1935. The design of the house promotes a harmony between man and nature, so that the buildings, walls and structures within the house are extensions of the exterior world. Fallingwater was designed for the Edgar J. Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh; the founders of a prominent department store in the city called Kaufmann’s. Construction on the project began in 1936 and was completed in 1939. Wright concentrated in on the Bear Run location because he knew of a waterfall in the area that the family loved to go visit all the time. In designing the house, Wright mimicked the natural pattern of rock ledges over the waterfall and cantilevered the house over the falls in a series of concrete ledges, anchored to masonry walls made of the same sandstone as the rock ledges. This view just described, is perhaps the most famous of all. The house hovers right over the rushing mountain stream in perfect harmony. The house extends 30 feet in height above the ledges, although strong horizontal lines and low ceilings help maintain an overall sheltering feeling.

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The outdoor ledges of the house are complete with terraces that overlook the mountain streams and the wilderness surrounding the entire home. In fact, there is nearly as much floor space taken up by outdoor terraces as there is in the indoor rooms. Inside the house, spaces drift into an array of wooden furnishings, constructed as extensions of the house, rather than furniture placed inside a home. The low ceilings curve to nature, not upward to grand interior. Light from the outdoors is designed to naturally illuminate almost the entire house.
     When construction of the house was completed in 1939, the Kaufmann family used the home for vacations during all the seasons. In the 1950’s, the house was inherited by their son, Edgar kaufmann, the curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Mr. Kaufmann used the home as a vacation spot until he entrusted it to the Western Pennsylvania Conservatory in 1963. This extraordinary gift Mr. Kaufmann has given to the WPC has been commended by the architectural community. At the time, many of Wright’s buildings were being demolished or left in a dilapidated condition. The conservatory has maintained the home ever since as a historical treasure. The conservatory hosts tours through the house year round and thousands of visitors a year from all over the world go to the remote location to visit this architectural masterpiece. Most of the original designed furnishings are still in place. Also in the home are objects of artistic value and other belongings left by the Kaufmann family.
     From day one, Wright has said that he could hear the waterfall in the design of Fallingwater. Decades later, millions have done the same thing; they have been able to hear the waterfall through his awe-inspiring design. As the world grows, it continues to grow farther away from nature, Fallingwater has become even more of a marvel to man because of its simple principle: man and nature should be able to coexist in harmony.
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