Fallingwater House

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Building Name  – Fallingwater House

Location              – 1491 Mill Run Rd, Mill Run, PA 15464, USA

Client                   – Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Kaufmann

Architect            – Frank Lloyd Wright

Contractor         – Walter Hall

Engineers          – Mendel Glickman and William Wesley Peters

Year of Start      – 1936

Year of End        – 1939

Description       –

  • In Mill Run, Pennsylvania in the Bear Run Nature Reserve where a stream flows at 1298 feet above sea level and suddenly breaks to fall at 30 feet, Frank Lloyd Wright designed an extraordinary house known as Fallingwater that redefined the relationship between man, architecture, and nature.
  • The house was built as a weekend home for owners Mr. Edgar Kaufmann, his wife, and their son, whom he developed a friendship with through their son who was studying at Wright’s school, the Taliesin Fellowship.
  • Wright’s admiration for Japanese architecture was important in his inspiration for this house, along with most of his work. Just like in Japanese architecture, Wright wanted to create harmony between man and nature, and his integration of the house with the waterfall was successful in doing so.
  • Wright revolved the design of the house around the fireplace, the hearth of the home which he considered to be the gathering place for the family.
  • Here a rock cuts into the fireplace, physically bringing in the waterfall into the house. He also brings notice to this concept by dramatically extending the chimney upwards to make it the highest point on the exterior of the house.
  • For the cantilevered floors, Wright and his team used upside-down, T-shaped beams integrated into a monolithic concrete slab which both formed the ceiling of the space below and provided resistance against compression.
  • The contractor, Walter Hall, also an engineer, produced independent computations and argued for increasing the reinforcing steel in the first floor’s slab. Wright refused the suggestion.
  • Fallingwater consists of two parts: The main house of the clients which was built between 1936-1938, and the guest room which was completed in 1939.
  • The original house contains simple rooms furnished by Wright himself, with an open living room and compact kitchen on the first floor, and three small bedrooms located on the second floor. The third floor was the location of the study and bedroom of Edgar Jr., the Kaufmann’s son.
  • The circulation through the house consists of dark, narrow passageways.
  • The ceilings of the rooms are low, reaching only up to 6’4″ in some places, in order to direct the eye horizontally to look outside.
  • The terraces form a complex, overriding horizontal force with their protrusions that liberated space with their risen planes parallel to the ground. In order to support them, Wright worked with engineers Mendel Glickman and William Wesley Peters. Their solution was in the materials.
  • The exterior of Fallingwater enforces a strong horizontal pattern with the bricks and long terraces. The windows on the facade have also have a special condition where they open up at the corners, breaking the box of the house and opening it to the vast outdoors.

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  • The perfection of these details perfected the house itself, and even though the house tends to have structural problems that need constant maintenance due to its location, there is no question that Fallingwater, now a National Historic Landmark, is a work of genius. From its daring cantilevers to its corner window detail and constant sound of the waterfall, Fallingwater is the physical and spiritual occurence of man and architecture in harmony with nature. All you have to do is listen.
  • The total project price of $155,000, adjusted for inflation, is the equivalent of about $2.6 million in 2015. The cost of restoration was estimated to be $11.5 million in 2001.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Administrator says:

    Nice post about an intersting and famous building with the original plans.

    Like

  2. buildmarvel says:

    Thanks for your interest and comment

    Like

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