Fallingwater is about ten miles away from our playground, the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. Despite visiting the area for the last ten years, I’ve always been too busy running than touring iconic architecture.
Project 50 gave me the perfect reason to visit not one, but two Frank Lloyd Wright homes.
I arrived about 1/2 hour before my scheduled tour time. You have to buy tickets online for Fallingwater and choose a time frame. I had time to visit the restroom and the museum shop before the tour began.
Gaven was our tour guide. We started beside the house where we could see the creek going under the house. Gaven explained that FLW wanted to put the house in the water, not place the house where the homeowners could just see the waterfall. From wikipedia: In December 1934, Wright visited the site the Kauffmans had selected and was immediately inspired by the presence of Bear Run and the waterfall it presented. He later wrote, “The visit to the waterfall in the woods stayed with me, and a domicile has taken vague shape in my mind to the music of the stream.”
I was already ready to move in when I saw Bear Run running under the house. Not only can you walk down the steps directly into the creek; to the right in the picture is also a “dipping pool” where you come down some side steps into about three feet of water, to soak or get stimulated first thing in the morning. The water is from the creek.
Once I went inside, I was ready to pack up the suitcases and go. But alas, the house now belongs to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy now and is off the market.
The word of Fallingwater is cantilever. Think of a swimming pool spring board, supported on one end with no vertical supports under the free end.
We enter the house. It is nothing like I envisioned! The living room is not that big, and the ceilings are low. The walls are low, and there is glass everywhere, to bring nature in. There are terraces off every room, where you can wander outside and BE in nature, and BE in the trees. You can look down and see the creek, the wonderful rocky, bouldering creek with the water just burbling over, and hear the Bear Run.
Remember this house was built in the 1930’s. We might appreciate all these windows and natural light-no curtains here!-but this was not nowhere near the norm of design in the 1930s.
I’m not a creative person, (maybe just writing) when it comes to art. I’m truly appreciative of folks who can draw, paint, write and play music and build houses that float above creeks.
One of my favorite features was this “corner turning windows” without mullions causes corners to vanish.
So to see all these details-the glass without frames in the corners,
all the window to promote air flow, the cantilevers, the lowered beds, desks, in order to not block out any views of nature.
Architects baffle me. How do these people come up with these concepts? You have to be creative, also have a good grip on math, science, have some “design” in concept. being the architect and interior decorator that just blows my mind. FLW designed both the building and the furniture-and even the lamps!
On the regular house tour you are not allowed to take pictures inside the home. I did take some pictures outside, but had a bit of a time crunch since I had a 4 pm scheduled tour at Kentuck Knob.
Visit tip: Allow yourself three hours to view Fallingwater. The tour was about 70 minutes. You will then want to take more pictures outside and visit the gift shop (and/or cafe).
I was very interested in how Fallingwater came to be. I found in the gift shop a book on the building of Fallingwater, a weighty 400+ tome. This book can be found on Amazon at a better price (affiliate link).
Fallingwater is simply amazing. As close as it is, I need to visit it in both the fall and winter months to experience the house and nature.
Next Project 50 Post, my same day visit to Kentuck Knob, another Frank Lloyd Wright home!
Have you been to a Frank Lloyd Wright site? Have you been to Fallingwater?