Fallingwater (1935), Bear Run, Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania
William Allin Storrer describes Fallingwater as “the best-known private home for someone not of royal blood in the history of the world.” Constructed as a rural retreat for Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr., Fallingwater overhangs a waterfall on Bear Run in western Pennsylvania. Some call it the fullest realization of Wright’s lifelong ideal of a living place completely at one with nature. Reinforced-concrete cantilever slabs project from the rocks to carry the house over the stream. From the living room, a suspended stairway leads directly down to the stream. On the third level immediately above, terraces open from sleeping quarters, emphasizing the horizontal nature of the structural forms. Wright himself described Fallingwater as “a great blessing — one of the great blessings to be experienced here on earth.”
Fallingwater perches above Bear Run on three levels constructed primarily of reinforced concrete, native sandstone and glass. Solid rock secures the anchors for cantilevered balconies. Walls of glass form the south exposure. A vertical shaft of mitered glass merges with stone and steel to overlook the stream.
Floor plan of main level. Most of the house’s floor space is devoted to the stone-paved living area with its various activity spaces. A high proportion of the living space is outdoors in the form of terraces, loggia and plunge pool below the living room.
Perspective drawing of Edgar J. Kaufmann House, 1936. Copyright © the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
For more information about Fallingwater, see: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
References: References: Frank Lloyd Wright: A Gatefold Portfolio by Robin Langley Sommer, ©1997 Barnes & Noble Books Inc.; The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright by William Allin Storrer, ©1995 MIT Press