Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's Masterpiece House

fallingwaterFallingwater is a well known architectural masterpiece that is located in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. It is a house that was designed by well-known American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935. It was unique in that the home was built partly over a waterfall and features other architectural designs that were quite distinctive during its time.

Fallingwater was a home that was initially owned by Edgar Kaufmann Sr. who was a successful businessman in Pittsburg. The Kaufmanns owned a property in Pittsburg that contained a waterfall and some cabins that needed to be rebuilt.

Mr. Kaufmann contacted Wright to the task of designing or rebuilding the property. What the Kaufmanns initially wanted was a home that overlooks the waterfall in their property. But the famed Wright had other plans. He suggested that the home be built over the waterfall. The result was an extraordinary home that became one of the most unique pieces of architecture ever seen.

What makes Fallingwater quite an interesting architectural masterpiece is that it was designed in a way that helps it become part of its surroundings, never standing out over the striking beauty of natural scenery. The house was built over an active waterfall that flows beneath it.

Even the boulders of the site were integrated into the home interior instead of being cleared out during construction. The fireplace hearth, for instance, is made up of a group of boulders that was found on the site. A set of boulders protrude over the living room floor and became a part of the home.

There are stairways designed that lead directly to the water. There is a natural boulder that drips water inside from the bridge that connects the main house to the guest and servant’s buildings. The water is then directed back out, creating a stream of water that seems to go inside the room from the outside.

The terraces that jut out from the waterfall below it are cantilevered to resemble the rock formations nearby. The active stream as well as the waterfall can be heard all around the home although one may not be able to see it unless one goes outside.

The hoe also makes use of wide expanses of windows and balconies that give the visitor or guest have a sense of closeness with the surroundings. Every part of the home was designed according to Wright’s aim to make the home as organic as possible and integrating the man-made structures as part of the natural surroundings.

Although Fallingwater may have very unique architectural features, it also has its own set of problem areas. It seems that during the design process, the cantilever system was hastily designed and was weak to hold the balconies that were made out of reinforced concrete.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the current owner of the home-turned-museum, did a detailed analysis of the problem concerning the gradual sagging of the prominent balconies in the home. The structural work to temporarily reinforce the home’s cantilevers was completed in 2002. Aside from that, the home also has a serious problem of mold growth brought about by excess moisture all around the home.

 
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