February 22, 2007


Fallingwater - Mill Run, Pennsylvania

The Masterpiece of Architect Frank Lloyd Wright

"There in a beautiful forest was a solid, high rock ledge rising beside a waterfall, and the natural thing seemed to be to cantilever the house from that rock bank over the falling water..." -- Frank Lloyd Wright in an interview with Hugh Downs, 1954

Fallingwater, the residential masterpiece of great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was designed in 1936 for the family of Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann. Considered by some as the most famous private house ever built, Fallingwater epitomizes man living in harmony with nature. The house, set amid 5000 acres of natural wilderness, is constructed of local sandstone, reinforced concrete, steel and glass. It juts out over a waterfall on Bear Run, appearing as naturally formed as the rocks, trees and rhododendrons which embrace it.

The interior of Fallingwater remains true to Frank Lloyd Wright's vision as well, including cantilevered desks, earth-toned built-in sofas, polished stone floors, and large casement windows which allow the outdoors to pour in. The hearth of the soaring stone fireplace is actually a boulder on the hill, supposedly Mr. Kaufmann's favorite sunning spot before Fallingwater was built - the house was literally built around it. From the Great Room a set of stairs enables you to walk down and stand on a tiny platform in the middle of the stream.

Fallingwater was the weekend home of the Kaufmann family from 1937 until 1963, when the property was donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy by Edgar Kaufmann Jr. It still looks as it did when the family lived there - the only remaining great Wright house with its setting, original furnishings and art work intact. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, Fallingwater was also named by the American Institute of Architects in 2000 as the "Building of the Century."

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