A house in the Pennsylvania woods designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
From 1937 to 1963, Fallingwater was the weekend home of the Edgar Kaufmann family of
Pittsburgh. They owned some property about 50 miles out of the city and had some cabins
near it. When the camp there had gotten in bad enough shape that the cabins needed replacing,
Kaufmann had the idea of having a more substantial home built there for his family. A survey
of the area was made, a VERY thorough survey which included all the boulders and trees as
well as the topography. Kaufmann had hired Frank Lloyd Wright, with whom his son had
studied briefly, as his architect and thought Wright would design a house overlooking the
small waterfall. But Wright, well, he wanted to build a house ON the waterfall.
Wright wanted the house to be organic, to be "engaged" with its surroundings and used broad
expanses of window, long balconies off the main rooms so that the inhabitants would always
have a sense of closeness to what was around the house. He wanted, too, that the ceilings
be low so that attention would be directed outward as from the shelter of some deep cave
in the many rock ledges of the area. There are no huge, high halls, not even a main entrance.
A small door tucked into a corner was considered by Wright to be the entrance, though it
is but one of several small entries into the house. Before the house was built, the Kaufmanns
liked to sun themselves after swimming atop one of the large boulders just above the falls.
When the house was constructed atop these boulders, the sunning boulder was left protruding
through the living room floor as the hearth of the fireplace. The stone floor of the living room
is highly waxed, giving it a smooth, shiny look as though it were wet. The hearth was left unwaxed,
plain, like dry rock sticking above the stream. Wright attended to every detail of the house, even its
furnishings, to carry out his theme. The house, however, has always had mold problems due to being
built directly over running water. Mr. Kaufmann liked to jokingly call it "Rising Mildew" instead of
"Falling Water" from time to time!
I took these several years back on my second trip to Fallingwater. The house
is 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, nestled deep in the woods of the Laurel Highlands.
This is just approaching the bridge entrance. You walk down a long path through
the woods to get to the house.
Standing on the entrance bridge, looking across to where the steps come down from
the living room to Bear Run.
From the fork in the path where the right one goes to the entrance bridge and
the left to the viewing site.
The pathway behind the house, leading up to the guest house on the right.
I took this standing on the entrance bridge because I liked the way the wisteria vines
curved over down toward Bear Run.
Tips of the balconies over Bear Run. The camera was tilted a bit. The balconies don't
really slant down like it looks here.
Standing on the entrance bridge looking across to living room balcony and steps.
Outside of the guest house, looking down toward the covered walkway between it
and the main house.
Part of the path on the back side of Fallingwater. The house is just built right into the landscape.
Bear Run on the upcreek side of the entrance bridge.
The classic view from the viewing site across Bear Run.
Same view but zoomed in a bit.
A more overhead view from a different path. They don't allow you to photograph the
inside of the house, alas.
ON TO FALLINGWATER ON JULY 21, 2009
BACK TO JO'S OTHER PLACE
BACK TO WASHINGTON WAS EVERYWHERE!
BACK TO SUNLIT WATER
BACK TO THE VIEW FROM THE SUMMIT
BACK TO AUTUMN OUT MY CAR WINDOW