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  7. AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright

AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright

AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright
AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright

AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright © Lee Sandstead © Robert P. Ruschak - Western Pennsylvania Conservancy AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright +14

From the architect. 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. 

The waterfall had been the family's retreat for fifteen years and when they commissioned Wright to design the house they envisioned one across from the waterfall, so that they could have it in their view. Instead, Wright integrated the design of the house with the waterfall itself, placing it right on top of it to make it a part of the Kaufmanns' lives.

Second Floor Plan
Second Floor Plan

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. 

© Lee Sandstead
© Lee Sandstead

The house was meant to compliment its site while still competing with the drama of the falls and their endless sounds of crashing water. The power of the falls is always felt, not visually but through sound, as the breaking water could constantly be heard throughout the entire house.

Third Floor Plan
Third Floor Plan

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.

Guest First Floor Plan
Guest First Floor Plan

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 rooms all relate towards the house's natural surroundings, and the living room even has steps that lead directly into the water below. 

© Robert P. Ruschak - Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
© Robert P. Ruschak - Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

The circulation through the house consists of dark, narrow passageways, intended this way so that people experience a feeling of compression when compared to that of expansion the closer they get to the outdoors. 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 beauty of these spaces is found in their extensions towards nature, done with long cantilevered terraces. Shooting out at a series of right angles, the terraces add an element of sculpture to the houses aside from their function.

Guest Second Floor Plan
Guest Second Floor Plan

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. 

Photo Credit: Keystone State Photographer
Photo Credit: Keystone State Photographer

The house took on "a definite masonry form" that related to the site, and for the terraces they decided on a reinforced-concrete structure. It was Wright's first time working with concrete for residences and though at first he did not have much interest in the material, it had the flexibility to be cast into any shape, and when reinforced with steel it gained an extraordinary tensile strength.

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. 

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.

Knight, Caroline. Frank Lloyd Wright. Parragon Publishing, 2005. Print. and

First Floor Plan
First Floor Plan
Cite: Adelyn Perez. "AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright" 14 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/60022/ad-classics-fallingwater-frank-lloyd-wright/>
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55 Comments

Anthonyel Felainne · October 24, 2014

Fallingwater in software free, ''Blender''.

more photos in https://drive.google.com/folde...

Credits: https://www.facebook.com/antho...

Guest · October 24, 2014

Fallingwater in software free, ''Blender'' , more photos in

https://drive.google.com/folde...

Credits: https://www.facebook.com/antho...

deepak panchal · January 30, 2014

The great.....work sir

Abdul Rauf · July 08, 2013

i want to feel the feeling by liveing in this house.. i love it .

Gianfranco · June 17, 2012

Fallingwater House by Frank Lloyd Wright - http://t.co/s6rHL8qW

MortarMan · June 10, 2012

The greatest US architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, was born 145 yrs ago this week. Celebrate with a tour of... http://t.co/vwo7umq3

metromerlin · June 09, 2012

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Katie MacMillan · May 15, 2012

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Alef Interiorismo · January 28, 2012

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amada Carlota HR · December 31, 2011

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amada Carlota HR · December 31, 2011

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Alex Mihaileanu · December 30, 2011

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lubnabashir · December 08, 2011

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jason carlen · July 27, 2011

Fantastic video of the making of the Frank Lloyd Wright home Falling Water. So cool http://t.co/OaZJKlb

e-adeia.gr · May 25, 2011

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Sisca · February 10, 2011

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Centor4 · February 07, 2011

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ELS · December 02, 2010

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Marta Krivosikova · November 12, 2010

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Vincent Beneche · November 12, 2010

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Tomas Vazquez · November 12, 2010

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Jake Graydon · November 06, 2010

What?! #LEGO made a replica of Frank Lloyd Wright&#39s &#39Fallingwater&#39 house? - http://bit.ly/94UFh7 Actual house -> http://bit.ly/a19UYC #Want

EJMalyn · October 25, 2010

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krupa thaker · October 05, 2010

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e-adeia.gr · August 25, 2010

All time classic. http://is.gd/c9SQd @plethoraapp

MarcO · August 18, 2010

Aja sí... esta es mi casa soñada, pido mucho? http://www.archdaily.com/60022...

California Photographer · July 20, 2010

I have to say that aside from the photos being stunning, I certainly love Frank Lloyds work! His architecture is amazing and to photograph it, even more amazing.

The Falling Waterhouse is an awesome shot as well as home. I can't say we have much of the same here in California.

KDiop · July 19, 2010

L&#39INCONTOURNABLE... http://is.gd/c9SQd @plethoraapp

Shawnie · July 12, 2010

I grew up in Pittsburgh and have been to Fallingwater countless times and researched, written & taught about it. Presently, people who are on tour are not permitted to interact with the water/falls, but do have an opportunity to view the falls from the living room and various other perspectives within the house.

Originally, however, the water was meant to be interacted with both literally and symbolically. There are also two contained plunge pools naturally fed from the creek in which Fallingwater volunteers/workers are permitted to take a dip once a yeear. Indoor plumbing was built into the house's original structure, so there was water running to several bathrooms and kitchen. No need to bath under the falls, unless they wanted to.

mauro porrino · June 22, 2010

Reading: "AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright | ArchDaily"( http://twitthis.com/f9wmyo )

babu muraya · June 04, 2010

Reading: "AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright | ArchDaily"( http://twitthis.com/f9wmyo )

Mies van der Rohe · June 02, 2010

Fallingwater / Frank Lloyd Wright http://bit.ly/dsFNZ5 He was capable of the Best... and the worst. His interiors were always kitschy.

Mark Bailey · June 01, 2010

Dream House of the Day: A Classic - Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright http://ht.ly/1PWaz http://bit.ly/bTA1xL

Érika Lessa · May 22, 2010

RT @claudiamello: Posso morar aqui? http://bit.ly/azNMs8

Filipe Alverca · May 22, 2010

Ai, q trabalho pra limpar. Imagina as folhas no outono! Sai dessa e deixa pra mim! RT @claudiamello: Posso morar aqui? http://bit.ly/azNMs8

Patrique Riepe · May 22, 2010

Desde que tenha um quartinho pra mim, pode. RT @claudiamello: Posso morar aqui? http://bit.ly/azNMs8

Claudia Belhassof · May 22, 2010

Posso morar aqui? http://bit.ly/azNMs8

Paul Teodori · May 21, 2010

RT @dmcparson: AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright http://bit.ly/9RHxGR

Paul Teodori · May 21, 2010

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Creativity Boost · May 20, 2010

AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright | ArchDaily http://ow.ly/1NmDg

Fallingwater Visitor · May 17, 2010

I visited Fallingwater about 10 years ago. While I was impressed with the form, the function didn't always follow. As an example, because the lack of ventilation, the Kaufmann's at times slept outside at night.

Great video and amazing detail!

Compulsivo · May 17, 2010
sgibson · May 17, 2010

Interesting trivia : Wright originally wanted all the concrete to be treated with gold-leaf, in order to reflect the tree canopy around, esp. during fall. However, given the year, the Kaufmanns were concerned about their safety : constructing a gold castle while the nation suffered through the Depression.

Tim Nealon · May 17, 2010

There is a neat website that covers everything in Fallingwater's area, www.cometoohiopyle.com. Ohiopyle is the State Park right next door to Fallingwater...The whole area is beautiful. Check it out.

Jobe · June 12, 2012 01:05 AM

thanks obi one kenobi.

mahmut · December 16, 2010 06:10 PM

? have to learn the measurements of fallinwater's plan because of my homework ifyou can help me please help me
my email:
mb_0@hotmail.com

Trey Ratcliff · May 17, 2010

A very cool Wright house... a nice Youtube animation too http://bit.ly/aHHHUS thanks @allenvarney

Allen Varney · May 16, 2010

Frank Lloyd Wright&#39s Fallingwater (ArchDaily): http://www.archdaily.com/60022...

JR · May 16, 2010

WIthout detracting from the significance of this design and the structure itself, we should reflect on the fact that such a thing could not be built in most parts of our country today. The urge to preserve coupled with nanny-state building codes and environmental regulations have stifled all urge to take risks such as those embodied in Fallingwater.

Today, there is no shortage of property owners who would be willing to finance such a project and there is certainly a risk of failure in the more adventuresome projects. But the conditions and social spirit that resulted in this stunning work no longer exist.

not an architect · May 15, 2010

i am curious... do the occupants use the water from the fall for shower, washing dishes, etc, too? do occupants have a functional relationship with the water, not just a sensory relationship?

great project of course!

Rui Agnelo · May 15, 2010 08:27 PM

Don't know for sure, but i doubt it. At that time architects weren't thinking of such funcionalities, i guess.

JOHN-DAVID CARLING · May 14, 2010

This is a beautiful piece of work...
However after reading the summary, and though the house does allow the oocupants to interact with the water; I cant help but think I would really enjoy a good view of the falls versus being on top off them... I have never been there though and have no clue what the view is like..

Has anyone been there that can shed some light....

Christopher Cope · May 14, 2010 11:16 PM

I was just reading the website for falling water:

"When the Kaufmanns first looked at Wright’s drawings, they were very surprised! They thought their new house would have a wonderful view of the falls. But instead, with the house right on top of the falls, it was very difficult to even see them. But not to hear them! Frank Lloyd Wright told them that he wanted them to live with the waterfalls, to make them part of their everyday life, and not just to look at them now and then."

http://www.fallingwater.org/37...

···

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AD Classics: Fallingwater House