Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architectural Masterpiece
July 21, 2016
While recently on vacation with my family, I visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. I, like many others, have seen so many pictures of his iconic work and have read several articles and books about its design and architecture, but to see it firsthand and learn more on how Wright incorporated all elements of natural beauty, like the water from the stream and falls, sandstone, trees and the natural light from the sun into the design of the space is truly amazing and yet another “organic architecture masterpiece” of his work.
When Edgar Kaufmann (founder of the former Kauffmann Department Store in Pittsburgh) commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935, he selected a site in the forested Appalachian hollow where he and his family liked to visit on weekends to view the water falls and spring that flowed through the area. When Wright presented his plan for the home they were surprised that it wasn’t facing the falls, but was rather sketched to be built on top of the falls. Wright wanted them to experience something new and convinced them to look at it from a new perspective and the rest is history.
Elegantly framed by its dramatic natural setting, Fallingwater stimulates all of your senses. What I found most appealing was that it is not only the visual beauty, but the sound of so many natural elements, like the fresh spring water, the rustling of the trees, the songs of the birds and the cool breeze – even in mid-July, all which truly take your breath away. As I entered every room of the home and learned more about all of the details Wright incorporated, my journey just kept getting better and better.
The reinforced concrete terraces and canopies form contrasts with the natural stone and each provides you with a completely new view and experience to enjoy the natural surroundings and the home itself, so much so that at times I forgot I was even in the home itself. You become one with nature.
It is through the details of not only the design of the space, but the use of the materials and how the natural elements are incorporated into the space that make it so special. Wright even limited the color palette to two colors – a light ochre for the concrete and his signature Cherokee red for the steel. When you are in the home, the structure is designed to take you outdoors, so Wright’s use of windows, sightlines, height of the walls, etc. all draw you to feel as if you are one with nature.
If you have not experienced Fallingwater, add it to your list now! It will change how you view many things and appreciate even more the great design and architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.