Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania, USA, 1935 — 1939


Client: Edgar J. Kaufmann
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Structural Engineer: Mendel Glickman
Peters and William Wesley

Design: 1935
Construction Main house: 1936-1938
Guest House: 1939
Structure: Reinforced concrete and natural stone
Budget: $ 155,000
Restoration: 2002 ($ 11.5 Million)
Floors: 3 and 2, the Main House Guest
Type: Residential
Location: Bear Run Nature Reserve, County
Fayette, Mill Run St., Pennsylvania, United States

Architectural Style: Organic Architecture

Located in a truly privileged in Bear Run Nature Reserve in Fayette County, Pa.,—to about 80 km. southeast of Pittsburgh—, the Fallingwater House has become over time in one of the masterpieces of modern architecture par excellence. The majestic work, designed in 1935 by famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), author among other works at the Solomon R. Guggenheim New York, came to replace a badly damaged wooden hut where Kaufmann family used to spend weekends and holidays and it was impossible to restore. Undoubtedly, the beautiful landscape with the stream where the water flows of the peace and freedom, inspired the architect to leave his personal stamp and perform masterful intervention.

To access the Kaufmann Residence, a path in slight ramp up crossing the creek itself through a suspension bridge from the south side entrance leads to a marquee pointing formed by a concrete slab. The architect placed the garage attached to the guest house at the top of the hill. To get there, from the second level of the main house, a covered walkway suspended and gives access to the other side of the road, from this point, a curved staircase ascending semi-covered by a concrete slab step, leads to the parking.

above site plan. "In a beautiful forest stood beside a waterfall high platform and rock solid, and it seemed like the natural thing was to build the house on top, in cantilever fashion on the waterfall ... Then there was (of course) the affection of Mr. Kaufmann for this nice place. he loved the site on which the house was built and liked to hear the sound of water. This became the main reason of the design. believe you can hear the waterfall when you look at the design," Frank Lloyd Wright

To integrate an outstanding residence with the landscape and the environment were to melt, Wright included in it's natural materials like stone nearest place in both land retaining walls and masonry in general housing; down, north-south section.

In order to cause the least possible environmental impact and make a organically architectural intervention, the architect used few colors in the composition of the house, using the light ocher for cantilevered concrete volumes rounded at the corners, as well as Cherokee red for the steel holding the panels of glass. Also, to cover the floor of each floor,—in accordance with other natural elements of the house—, Wright used irregular natural stone tiles.

The green color of the trees, complementary red, flooded the whole house and the flow of water can be heard from every corner. Moreover, the height from floor to ceiling on each floor is reduced so that all the attention falls on the views outward, taking advantage of the magnificent natural scenery of rhododendrons lying around the building, down south elevation.

The main house is spread over three floors with spacious terraces surfaces taking advantage of the beautiful nature that surrounds it. In addition, the iconic Kaufmann Residence offers a completely different zip depending on the time of year to do, is very famous for the prints both fall and winter.

Some natural rocks where the Kaufmann family used to spend the day and bathing views were left by the architect to form part of the interior decoration of the house, as can be seen in the area of ​​the fireplace hearth; below image Fallingwater House from the suspension bridge that spans the creek.

After building a series of retaining walls zig-zag of natural stone on the hillside, on a horizontal rock different platforms settled mixed concrete and stone to welcome several buttresses these, making the role of foundations, are the livelihood of much of the housing. This rigid structure attached to bedrock plays an important role as a counterweight, as it supports much of the weight of it, facilitating the construction of modern cantilevered terraces, great attraction of the house, in direct contact with nature. There are several indoor and outdoor stairs which were enabled to communicate the various plants, including the one that empties into the creek itself, with access from the ground floor-, from which you can have direct contact with the water.

At the first level where the living area is distributed the entrance hall, the kitchen, a large living room with terraces, plus several paths distributors and vertical communication outside stairs. On the second floor are the bedrooms, main en suite. These three rooms facing south offering wonderful views and plenty of trees own stream output feature its own terrace, a must if you want to see the flow of water from the stream and waterfall under the house. Also, on the third floor was enabled Mr. Kaumann study, which has two terraces, one covered and one uncovered at a lower level, starting from a natural rock adjacent to the road, fly thanks to massive beams singing that were stuffed into the rock.

The Kaufmann Family enjoyed the mountain retreat from 1939 to 1963, coinciding latter selling the house by the son of Mr. Kaufmann to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, due to the high cost required conservation. Since then, from 1964, when he becomes House Visitor Center and Museum and open to the public, the house has received over 4.5 million visitors, however, were those received 160,950 visits in 2011.

above, detail of one of the terraces with the highest volume of the fireplace and curving staircase that connects the main house with the guest. This ladder connection, which is formed by a thin concrete slab step became a feat of engineering, because it is supported only on one side by metal sections. One of the most interesting peculiarities of this structure is that its curvature staggered that not fissure does this, below, section of the house. Note the suspension bridge shown on the right and crossing to the other side of the creek to get to the entrance of the house which is situated on the north side. The structure of the ground floor slab has several flat beams resting on and flying buttresses in certain areas on the surface of the water.

In 2002, Fallingwater received a major restoration that took a total cost of $ 11.5 Million,—infinitely higher than budgeted in its initial construction—, where, among other improvements, considerably reinforced the succession of dynamic cantilevered terraces to prevent future inclinations and subsequent plunge, however, mold problems in the structure due to the proximity of water have always existed resulting in a significant deterioration of the house with the passing of the years.

up, great video of Fallingwater House conducted by Cristóbal Vila. "No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. Should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each other happy," Frank Lloyd Wright, down plants layout of the house Guest.

The guest house commissioned from Wright by Mr. Kaufmann in 1938 for lack of space, has two floors and its own pool. The garage, irregular plant for four cars, is located on the west side. Above him upstairs, three bedrooms for children have beautiful views of the surrounding landscape on that side. The master bedroom, with direct access to the pool, is situated on the ground floor.


-In 1991, members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) voted to Fallingwater House (La Casa de la Cascada) as "the best job of all time performed by an American architect."

-In 1996, Fallingwater (The House of the Waterfall) was declared a National Historic Landmark.

-Since 2007, Fallingwater is ranked No. 29 on the AIA 150 list, which lists the 150 most beloved and representative works of architecture American favorite.


-The initial budget of the house, which amounted to $ 155,000, included $ 8,000 for architect's fees and $ 4,500 for walnut furniture was distributed inside.

- "Edgar Kaufmann, father, was a Pittsburgh businessman. His family owned several cottages near a waterfall in a rural area 80 km to the southeast of the city. Mr. Kaufmann contacted Wright to commission a new home in this property. Such was the origin of this work. "

-The Brook House designed by Wright is a tributary of the Youghioheny.

- "Wright corresponded to the family fondness for that mountain stream called Bear Run, and its waterfall.'s Kaufmann quickly became the idea that Wright would design a house overlooking the waterfall. But, what was your surprise when he suggested building it directly on top of it ".

-The Fallingwater appeared on the cover of the prestigious Time magazine in January 1938.

- "Because of the terrain, Wright decided to anchor the structure into a large rock next to the waterfall just above the creek.'s Directed towards the southeast and with all the house got poked gracefully over the water."

-Frank Lloyd Wright once suggested coated with gold leaf cantilevered terraces.

above, perspective drawing of the Fallingwater (La Casa de la Cascada) conducted by Wright in 1936.

« Fallinwater, is one of the greatest blessings that can be found here on earth. Surely there is nothing that can compare with the harmony and sympathetic expression of the principle of serenity and repose produced by the combination of forest, river and rock with elements of construction. Although the music of the river is always present, no attention is paid to any noise. Waterfalls like the stillness of the landscape is heard is heard. », Frank Lloyd Wright

Other information:

Initial Use: Holiday home of the Kaufmann family
Current use: Visitor Center, Museum House since 1964
Main house Total area: 1624.6 m²
Interior: 879.35 m²
Terraces: 745.24 m²
Guest House Area: 518.16 m²


Photo Credits
Images 1-2-3-6-7a/b-8 Copyright © Xavier de Jauréguiberry
Plans, Drawings and images 4-5 Copyright © Fallingwater.org
Perspective drawing Fallingwater. Copyright © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Video Fallingwater Copyright © Cristóbal Vila
"Text" Copyright © José Miguel Hernández Hernández
Editor, Escritor y Fotógrafo de Arquitectura /
Publisher, Writer and Architectural Photographer
Todos los derechos reservados / All rights reserved

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